FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (2/26/16 UPDATED 4:45 P.M. ET)--A new credit union serving the Muslim community in Austin, Dallas and Houston is the first credit union charter this year. The National Credit Union Administration’s Office of Consumer Protection today announced the approval of federal insurance of members’ accounts for Jafari No-Interest CU, Houston, which was chartered by the State of Texas Credit Union Department Feb. 16.
Jafari No-Interest CU--also the first state-chartered credit union in Texas since 2008--will be a member of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, the league said in an announcement.
The credit union, set to open in April, was formed to provide financial services for those of the Muslim faith that follow the Jafari School, community members and families of the Islamic Education Center of Houston, the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association in Austin, or the Metroplex Organization of Muslims in North Texas.
President/CEO Imran Dhanji said, "Going through the chartering process, we have seen firsthand that the cooperative spirit of the credit union movement is alive and well. Many credit unions have willingly offered their expertise and guidance to help us achieve this milestone, and we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for their support. We are proud to be a part of the credit union movement and look forward to being an active member of the Cornerstone Credit Union League."
Per Islamic principles, the credit union will not charge interest for loans or pay interest to depositors. According to its business plan, it instead will charge monthly fees or accept voluntary fees and donations to cover operating expenses and build capital.
Cornerstone credit union development officials have assisted the organization of the credit union since 2012.
"The Cornerstone Credit Union League would like to extend its sincere congratulations to the leadership team of Jafari No-Interest CU on the chartering of their credit union," said Mike Delker, senior vice president of credit union relations at the league. "Their perseverance and dedication throughout the chartering process is evidence of their desire and ability to provide financial products and services designed to meet the unique needs of their membership. Cornerstone looks forward to providing them with the assistance and service they will need to be successful in their growth."
The credit union received additional help from Houston credit union leaders: James Tuggle Jr., CEO, Transtar FCU; Cindy Hester, CEO, Union Fidelity FCU; George Bishop, CEO, St. Luke’s Community FCU; Lynda Milton, CEO, Team Financial FCU; and Randy Martinez, CEO, Promise CU.
"It's been a pleasure to help in any way we can," said Tuggle, who along with Kay NewBury and Rocky Hinojosa, will continue to provide operational guidance. "It’s always good to see us adding credit unions versus the alternative. This model still works, so we need to figure out how to keep adding them.”
Dhanji also expressed his appreciation for the Texas Credit Union Department and, in particular, Commissioner Harold Feeney.
Feeney said, "Chartering credit unions that provide consumers with access to affordable services is an extremely satisfying part of my job. We are very pleased to welcome this new organization as a Texas state-chartered credit union and commend the board and management of Jafari No-Interest CU for their hard work, dedication, and resolve."
In the league release, Dhanji thanked NCUA analyst Nancy Sgarbossa from the Office of Consumer Protection, "for her guidance and patience through this long process." Sgarbossa was assigned to work with this charter on issuing its share insurance.