To celebrate Black History Month, we would like to take a moment to recognize and celebrate African American leaders who have influenced the movement of credit unions.
Did you know that the African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) was established in 1999 to increase the strength of the global credit union community and promote diversity? The Coalition is a non-profit organization of black professionals and volunteers in the credit union industry that regularly inducts credit union leaders who are instrumental in making changes and promoting diversity and inclusion.
According to the AACUC website, there will be five credit union leaders inducted this year during its Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Washington, D.C. on March 5, 2024.
The 2024 honorees include:
- John Bratsakis, President/CEO, MD|DC Credit Union Association
- Maurice Dawkins, President/CEO, American Spirit Federal Credit Union
- Karen Madry, President/CEO, Afena Federal Credit Union
- Anthony Taylor, Board Director, Ascend Federal Credit Union
- Robert Trunzo, President Emeritus, TruStage (formerly CUNA Mutual Group)
Even before the formation of the AACUC, black leaders played an essential role in the credit union movement by advocating for financial literacy and economic self-sufficiency amongst farmers and urban groups of people. Additionally, black leaders promoted the notion of people helping people – a common value still present in today’s credit union movement.
In 1918, Thomas B. Patterson established the Piedmont Credit Union of Landis, North Carolina, the first black credit union, to support local farmers cooperatively purchase food, fertilizer, tools, and other necessities to run their business. By 1920, Piedmont’s success spread, leading to 13 other black credit unions in North Carolina. During the U.S. civil rights movement, black credit unions continued to develop and grow. In fact, even Martin Luther King Jr., along with the Montgomery Improvement Association, applied for a credit union charter in 1950. Though never approved (due to a planned field of membership deemed too large at the time), this great example exemplifies the roots of the credit union movement and the desire to help all people thrive.
At Advia Credit Union, we are committed to fostering a diverse community of members, volunteers, and staff. Valuing diversity provides Advia with the opportunity to both represent and engage with the entirety of our community. Commemorating Black History Month supports our goals to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion. We celebrate the differences that make us all special!
To learn more about our core values and commitment to DEI, click here.
African American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC): https://www.aacuc.org