Supporting Sisters: AKA Sorority’s New Credit Union Aims to Build Black Women’s Wealth

Taking aim at black income disparity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated (AKA) has announced the launch of For Members Only Federal Credit Union as the first “Black-owned, woman-led, sorority-based, digital banking financial institution” in the country. Gaining its charter from the National Credit Union Administration in February, the credit union expects to be fully operational by the end of 2023 and will provide a full range of savings and lending products and banking services to members of AKA, their families and organizational employees.

Driven by purpose, AKA’s community building and service initiatives are deeply ingrained in the organization’s culture and founding principles. The sorority sees For Members Only as a natural outgrowth of that calling and hopes to help “build economic wealth, promote social justice and uplift communities,” according to Insider Intelligence.  Even more, “the founders believe the core purpose of a credit union – people helping people – aligns with this mission and will empower Black women to take control of their financial lives.”

“We are delivering the most progressive and revolutionary economic initiative in this century,” said Danette Anthony Reed, international president and chief executive of For Members Only, as reported in American Banker. “[And] We are poised to deliver innovative financial solutions that drive economic growth.” The NCUA governing body also sees a shared purpose in the mission of credit unions and a sorority like AKA. “It’s perfectly fitting that an organization whose members pledge to be of ‘Service to All Mankind’ has created a credit union,” said Todd Harper, chairman of the NCUA.

More common among smaller and mid-sized financial institutions like credit unions and community banks, the type of affinity banking that For Members Only is founded on is growing in popularity across the country, as people pool their collective power. The banking industry is seeing a rise of innovative institutions like Greenwood and Daylight that serve their customers and members in unique, personalized ways, as cohorts of people gravitate toward tailored banking solutions not often found at larger, more traditional institutions.

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