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St. Louis Community CU & Prosperity Connection Provide Financial Tools to Community

St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) and their non-profit affiliate Prosperity Connection™ exist to serve the underserved with financial dignity and respect. These two organizations help low-to-moderate income individuals and connect them to a vast number of resources. By offering credit union locations within social service agencies, they meet people where they are – providing financial education, valuable account services and affordable loans.

As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), SLCCU is able to receive grant funding in its efforts to actively serve the community. In 2014, the credit union and its social service partner Kingdom House were awarded a $150,000 grant from the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions to implement a three-year pilot program. This initiative integrates financial services and education with social services offered to Kingdom House clients.

Thanks to the grant, Prosperity Connection educators led free financial education classes at Kingdom House, while SLCCU offered account services to those in need. This provided an avenue for options that didn’t exist before. Class attendees walked in seeking information, but left with so much more.

One attendee, Monica, was ready to make some changes in her life. A friend of Monica’s referred her to the classes as a means to get her moving in the right direction.

“I just wanted a few tips to get out of the hole I created,” says Monica. She attended every Prosperity Connection course, took diligent notes and began to put what she learned into action. 

“I couldn’t believe it was free,” she states. “Just having the free classes is motivating because it means someone really cares about you.”

During a credit building session, Monica learned how to eliminate her bills one by one. The instructor talked about the snowball effect of paying the lowest debt first, then proceeding to the next one. Monica was skeptical at first, but the plan worked.

She decided to shift her spending lifestyle, breaking the cycle. Monica stopped using her credit cards. This led her to ease up on clothing and shoe purchases. Every time she began to deter from her new path, there seemed to be another class on the schedule to keep her focused. 

Monica had the opportunity to have her credit reviewed. To her surprise, her credit score improved as a result of her own due diligence of paying down her debt. This led to her receiving an affordable auto loan from SLCCU. Thanks to the newfound knowledge she gained, Monica was able to buy her dream car: a pre-owned, 2012 red Nissan Sentra.

“If I can do it, anyone else can,” she says. “I am proud of myself. I still can’t believe I did it.”

The possibilities are endless now that Monica has a sense of hope. In addition to receiving the tools she needed in the classes, her entire point of view on money management has changed. Monica is determined to move forward.

“All doors are opened to me now. I have nothing holding me back,” says Monica joyfully. “I sleep better now.”

Caption: Pictured is Monica with her new car.