Community First Fund launched its first Community First Fund Federal Credit Union in Lancaster to serve the community who may not have access to banking needs.
The nonprofit lender launched with a soft opening at 51 S. Duke St. in January and plans a grand opening June 7.
Vanessa Neri, vice president of marketing and communications, said the credit union is the first new financial institution in Central Pennsylvania since the formation of Camp Hill-based LinkBank in 2018.
Community First Fund Federal Credit Union has traditionally focused on lending to entrepreneurs and small business owners who lack access to conventional lending sources.
“This is our first venture into the personal banking side,” she said.
This credit union is geared toward bringing banking services to underbanked and unbanked individuals, Neri said.
She explained that underbanked or unbanked individuals are not able to get full service from a bank due to financial issues. “We will offer loans and accounts with no minimum amounts,” she said.
There will be an educational component. Neri said the plan is to be multilingual with a mobile app that is bilingual. The programs, she said, are still in the planning stages but will be focused on financial education.
Currently, Community Fund is running a capital campaign to raise $15 million over the next five years to grow its operation. The campaign, she said, has raised more than $5.5 million to date including a $500,000 commitment from Santander bank.
Other contributors are the Lancaster County Community Foundation, the High Foundation and Ferree Foundation, she said.
The total also includes part of a $10 million gift from MacKenzie Scott, ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos. Community First will use part of that money to create a policy center and a fund for business loans, the organization’s main business, she said.
“We are a non-profit so we can raise funds to run the credit union,” Neri said.