Designations to serve low-income communities have given Government Printing Office (GPO) Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C., the flexibility to become a true community partner.
In 2013, NCUA designated the $38 million asset institution as a low-income credit union. And in 2015, GPO Federal received certification from the U.S. Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
These classifications provide access to financial grants and other benefits that help the credit union serve low- and moderate-income consumers and promote financial inclusion.
Among the credit union’s partners is the Community Preservation and Development Corp. (CPDC), a nonprofit real estate developer focused on the acquisition, redevelopment, and operation of affordable housing for low- and moderate- income residents.
The credit union provides financial education and affordable products and services to CPDC residents to help them join the financial mainstream.
“We teach them to manage their money, because if they can manage their money they can become productive citizens,” says Tim Anderson, GPO Federal’s president/CEO. “Using affordable products and services provided by the credit union is a byproduct of that.”
Budgeting is a critical component of money management, and paying rent or a mortgage is the No. 1 item on virtually everyone’s budget. To that end, the credit union has developed an eviction prevention program through which it collects (via direct deposit) and pays rent for participants.
“It’s a game changer,” Anderson says. “It teaches responsibility. I tell my kids if you don’t have a roof over your head, you’re not going to come to work and be productive because the rest of your life will be a mess. We’re trying to help create a safe home environment so they can be productive in other parts of their lives.”
Another community partner, Edgewood/Brookland Family Support Collaborative (E/BFSC), recently honored the credit union with its Rogerline Nicholson Building Stronger Communities Award for providing financial management workshops to its clients.
Since 2012, more than 230 clients in E/BFSC’s Workforce Development Program have participated in GPO Federal’s workshops.
“It’s about day-to-day money management,” Anderson says. “If we can teach people to budget and develop a level of self-sufficiency, they’re going to be healthier and more productive overall.”