Community Development Banks

Community Development Banks operate similarly to regular banks, while focusing on long-term economic development of low- and moderate-income communities. You can open a checking account, savings account, or CD that is federally insured up to $100,000. You can also open a money market account, or IRA.

Community Development Credit Unions

Community Development Credit Unions operate just like commercial credit unions, but focus on economic development in specific areas. Similar to banks, credit unions provide a range of savings and investment options. The difference is that credit unions are membership-owned and controlled and they are nonprofit financial institutions. There are over 100 Community Credit Unions across the country, serving people and communities with limited access to traditional financial institutions. Community Development Credit Unions are federally insured and regulated.

Community Investing: Lifting People out of Poverty
Gloria was one of the first people to open an Individual Development Account (IDA), at the Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithica, New York, a program that serves low-income people (qualifiers are below 200 percent of the federal poverty level). After saving for a little over a year, Gloria used her savings and matching funds for the down payment on a house. Two months later, she and a partner opened the Room for Growing Day School, a multicultural preschool and after-school daycare center in her house. She is just one of many borrowers aided by the IDA program. "The IDA program has been wonderful in helping low-income families reach their goal of home ownership," says Gloria.

To learn more about community investing options, go to How to become a community investor.

Use our convenient listing of community investing institutions to find community development banks and credit unions.

Want more information about socially responsible investing?
Order a copy of Co-op America's Financial Planning Handbook, hands-on guide to responsible financial planning for individuals. It includes a comprehensive introduction to socially responsible investing and a complete Social Investment Forum member directory.

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