KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A project first discussed in 2007 came to fruition on Saturday.
A dedication ceremony was held at the WeDevelopment Federal Credit Union at 31st and Prospect in Kansas City, Missouri.
Dozens of community members and local leaders celebrated the new credit union, which aims to provide financial assistance to KC’s most distressed areas.
“I think it shows persistence, you don’t change the world in one fell swoop, sometimes these things are tough,” said KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas.
Gwendolyn Washington, CEO of WeDevelopment, tells KSHB 41 that the credit union will help protect people from predatory lending companies, especially as the poverty rate near the site is around 30%.
“If you have people on a fixed income or who don’t make a lot of money, their emergencies can only be a $500 loan, so they go to payday loans, but if they can go to a financial institution like WeDevelopment and they can take out a loan over $500 with an interest rate below 20%, you know they have to come here,” Washington said.
As priorities are expanding access to banks while educating members on how best to manage their finances, Mayor Lucas says the credit union is just the beginning of a better, safer community.
“You see more stores filling this intersection,” he said. “I think what you’re going to see is more people coming back to the core of our city, more people developing and in the long term a place that’s going to look very different in 10 to 15 years. With a lot more business, with a lot more business and a lot less crime.”
There is still work to be done, but the credit union is scheduled to open to the community on December 5th.