Closing the Wealth Gap: Credit Union Expands Services for Tri-State’s Underbanked Population

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Members of unbanked households often cite a distrust of banks as a primary reason for not having a bank account. The alternative for these individuals is costly products such as check cashing services and payday loans that perpetuate a cycle of debt. The credit union!s vision is to empower financial success by eliminating the fear of banks. With a focus on personal service, it provides products and resources otherwise unavailable to low-income residents that match its members’ needs and advance financial literacy.

1166 Federal Credit Union is answering the call by expanding its service area to bring financial services to more communities in Southern New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania and Northern Delaware. Residents in these areas who traditionally have had little or no access to banking can gain the benefits of credit union membership, including signing-up for fee-free or reduced-fee checking and savings accounts, applying for low interest loans and credit cards, and performing digital and in-person financial transactions at more than 5,000 shared branches.

According to the FDIC, 14.1% of U.S. households were underbanked and 4.5% were unbanked in 2021. In the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metropolitan statistical area, non-distressed census tracts have one financial institution for every 3,713 individuals. Meanwhile, the underbanked population has one institution for every 6,024 people. Roughly 23% of low income/underbanked individuals in the target area live below the poverty line. Black residents comprise 43.71% of the area’s underbanked population. Spanish speakers comprise 11.97%.

About 1166 Federal Credit Union

1166 Federal Credit Union, established in 1937, is based in Swedesboro, NJ. We are committed to providing robust financial services, great loan rates, and broad-based financial education to our more than 1,200 current members. Our products include mortgages, student loans, credit and debit cards, checking and savings accounts, ACH access, financial literacy education, and more. The credit union’s unique name references our charter number, but it also adds up to the exceptional service and savings we offer our members. Our philosophy is real people helping real people manage their financial needs.

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