Federal Credit Union Sets Up Shop In Boro
By KAITLYN KILMETISOn Monday morning, hundreds of community members, joined by politicians and local business leaders, gathered to celebrate the opening of the East River Development Alliance Federal Credit Union before the backdrop of Long Island City’s Queensbridge Houses.
Among it’s many milestones, the ERDA Federal Credit Union is the first credit union to be chartered in New York City in the past 10 years, the first new credit union to open in Queens in the past 30 years and the first credit union to receive its federal charter from the National Credit Union Administration during President Obama’s tenure in office.
A bevy of politicians, including Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Comptroller John Liu and U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria), took part in the ceremonial ribbon cutting to signal the 13-03B 40th Ave. store front was open for business.
The credit union’s grand opening celebration continued with a spirited musical performance by the Voices of Hope, an official invocation, and a welcome and introduction by ERDA Founder and President Bishop Mitchell Taylor and John Rhea, chairman of the New York City Housing Authority.
Taylor began by acknowledging that the credit union will serve as an anchor in the community and a resource for public housing residents in Northwestern Queens to manage their money, build capital and achieve their financial goals.
He said the project, which has been in the works for the past five and a half years, was created by residents of the community seeking to take responsibility for their own financial empowerment. Taylor noted that 1,000 community members have pledged to start accounts at the credit union.
Rhea, who was the second person to open an account at the credit union later in the day, applauded community members for their vision, hard work and tenacity.
“It is absolutely raining in my heart today to look out and see this audience, to see all these people assembled here on what truly is a historic occasion and it’s historic, not just because of what we’re accomplishing but how we accomplished it,” he said.
Rhea said that the credit union serves as a positive beacon for the future of public housing communities across the city.
“It’s a great day for the people of Western Queens,” Bloomberg said. “This is your credit union. You have worked hard for it and now it will work hard for you.”
Bloomberg said his administration endeavors to have all New Yorkers take control of their financial lives. He also mentioned he will continue to fight in Albany to secure $25 million to invest in credit unions.
Dozens of attendees lined up to open their own accounts. ERDA Representative Jeremy Reiss noted that if people open accounts in the credit union’s first three months they will be considered founding members.
The East River Development Alliance identifies its mission as transforming and improving New York City public housing neighborhoods by providing residents with the tools and opportunities necessary for self-sufficiency and economic success.
For more information about the ERDA, visit www.erdalliance.org or call (718) 784-0877.
Reach Reporter Kaitlyn Kilmetis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (718) 357-7400, Ext. 128.