Two Little Girls Use Birthday Party to Help Local Credit Union with School Supply Drive

Wentzville, MO –Two little girls with big hearts, Kenley and her friend Evelyn, recently saw 1st Financial Federal Credit Union gather school supplies for local and children decided to help.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union, a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), focused on serving the community with education, job training, and sustainable housing resources, partnered with KidSmart Tools for Learning in the month of August to raise awareness, volunteer, and host school supply drives throughout the St. Louis area. The credit union also offered a small grant of $505.00 and received generous donations of school supplies from members and employees.

There was one young member, in particular, and her friends, who decided to do something very unique to help KidSmart and 1st Financial Federal Credit Union with their efforts.

Kenley, a 5 year old member of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, capitalized on an upcoming birthday party, which she was sharing and hosting with her friend, Evelyn, by asking her guests to bring a donation of school supplies in lieu of gifts. Kenley’s friends brought everything from pencils to backpacks. When Kenley was asked why she wanted to host the school supply drive, she stated, “I wanted to help kids who didn’t have stuff for school. Kids need stuff to help them learn.”Two girls hosting school supply drive

KidSmart Tools for Learning opened in 2002 and is continuously growing every day. The mission of KidSmart, is to ensure that children and their classrooms in the Greater Metropolitan Saint Louis Area have the basic tools for learning by transferring, at no cost, the community’s surplus supplies and merchandise into the hands of teachers for school children in need.

Kacie Alexander, the mother of Kenley and the Executive Assistant at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union, stated, “As an employee, I am proud to be part of an organization that empowers and encourages us to make a difference in the communities we serve. As a member, I appreciate the opportunity to not only teach my daughter important financial skills through the CUbby Kids Club program, but also the importance of giving back and helping others.  For our family, being a part of 1st Financial is rewarding on so many levels.”

kidsmart check presentation

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


Solving the Municipal Court Problem in St. Louis

12/29/2015– SAINT LOUIS-The St. Louis area has been on the world stage frequently in the past year and a half. The protest movement that grew from the unrest in nearby Ferguson eventually lead to Department of Justice investigations and the creation of the Ferguson Commission to determine the cause of the conflict and encourage solutions to save the region.  Investigators found that despite having only 22% of the state’s population, the St. Louis region represents 46% of the state revenue from municipal fines and fees. Municipal court corruption, specifically excessive fines and fees, became one of the main regional problems highlighted by the Ferguson Commission.

According to the report, “More than half the courts in St. Louis County engage in the “illegal and harmful practices” of charging high court fines and fees on nonviolent offenses like traffic citations and then arresting people when they don’t pay” and “the fining practices of certain courts often led to repeated incarceration, psychological harm, and potential loss of housing and employment.” The Commission’s report acknowledges that municipal court reform is one of the key next steps for the St. Louis region to take in order to turn the situation around.

One of the plans the city of St. Louis will use to combat the fine and fee epidemic in the municipal court system is the Civil Liberties Jobs Program. This pilot program between the City’s Municipal Court and St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (S.L.A.T.E.) gives unemployed young adults up to 24 years of age facing a non-violent municipal fine a better option than additional fines.

The City uses state and federal funding to pay for Civil Liberties Jobs Program participants to work in state and City parks and in City recreation centers, or be placed by STL Youth Jobs site or YouthBuild.   The Civil Liberties Jobs Program is a part of the City’s PIER Plan, which focuses crime reduction efforts through Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Reentry.

Participants gain practical work experience while also taking classes to learn job skills, financial literacy, and leadership. Once participants complete the work, municipal judges cut their fines in half, giving young adults a chance to pay their debt and possibly find a full-time job.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union has been an active partner with Tishaura Jones, Treasurer of the City of St. Louis and S.L.A.T.E. since 2014. To ensure that the graduates of the Civil Liberties Jobs Program leave financially literate, 1st Financial provides free checking and savings accounts, online banking access, and direct deposit as well as comprehensive financial education to everyone in the program.

“This is a very important program for the St. Louis area,” said Bruce Franks Jr. a Mentor Director for S.L.A.T.E.’s Young Adults Program and the founder of 28 to Life, a social empowerment organization dedicated to building relationships between police and the communities they serve. “Many of the people served by this program would otherwise face massive barriers to paying their court fines on time.  By getting them job training, bank accounts, and teaching them financial empowerment, we are helping to overcome this barrier and helping to advance their quality of life.”

He continued, saying “1st Financial took a much needed step for this community. Most banks would have shied away from programs like this.  With this partnership, we can attack these issues from all sides and build a bright future for our city.”

For more information on Youth Build, please visit- https://www.youthbuild.org/about-youthbuild

For more information on S.L.A.T.E., please visit- https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

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Dan Goeke graduated with a M.A. from Webster University in Advertising and Marketing Communications in 2012. He is currently a Marketing Specialist at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union from St. Charles Missouri.


Prison Recidivism and Financial Empowerment

12/29/2015–SAINT LOUIS-Prison recidivism is a growing problem for our region and the nation as a whole. The population of returning inmates has caused prison budgets to rise and is creating a generation of young men and women without the tools needed for redemption and a normal life. The prison system has shifted from containment for the worst members of society to a place where the poor, the mentally ill, and the downtrodden become caught in an endless cycle that robs them of their innocence, their humanity, and ultimately any chance they might have at a future.

A recent Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report found that 67.8% of the prisoners released in 30 states during the 2005 calendar year were back in prison by 2008. A large portion of these returning inmates find their way back behind bars due to a lack of education, a lack of financial literacy, and a lack of job opportunities for ex-convicts. A 2013 study by The RAND Corporation found that prison recidivism rates decrease by 43% when the inmate receives education while incarcerated.

The St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment ( S.L.A.T.E.) and the City’s Corrections Department partnered together to end the recidivism trend with a pilot program called From Prison to Prosperity which trains young adults ages 17-24 incarcerated at the Medium Security Institution. S.L.A.T.E. recently acquired state and private funding to provide 130 pre-trial detainees classes through Ranken Technical College during incarceration and career resources within the community once they are released.

The goals of the program are to 1) reduce the percentage of returning inmates to area prisons; 2) provide access to supportive, credentialed job training before and after release; 3) connect participants to real job opportunities; and 4) help them open banking and savings accounts and value fiscal responsibility.

Program participants receive comprehensive financial education from 1st Financial Federal Credit Union while they are in the program. Additionally, once they serve their time and earn their release, 1st Financial will also provide access to checking and savings accounts for the inmates.

“The Prison to Prosperity Program is amazing and should have been around years ago,” said Bruce Franks Jr. a Mentor Director for S.L.A.T.E.’s Young Adults Program and the founder of 28 to Life, a social empowerment organization dedicated to building relationships between police and the communities they serve. “The root cause for violence is a lack of education and job opportunities for many of our incarcerated youth. Providing these participants with a support system and structure during and after their time in prison is huge. ”

He continued, saying “the financial education and literacy training these participants receive is very important to the overall goals of the program. True financial empowerment gives these men and women goals, teaches them that saving money feels good, and fosters hope for the future. We appreciate 1st Financial’s support because they have taken a huge step forward; showing other businesses and law enforcement agencies that there is a better way to solve the problems our region faces.”

For more information on Youth Build, please visit- https://www.youthbuild.org/about-youthbuild

For more information on S.L.A.T.E., please visit- https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/slate/

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like all credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, financial cooperative. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. Today, with over 30,000 members and nearly $200 million in assets, 1st Financial is a St. Louis metro area financial institution dedicated to helping members achieve their financial dreams. For over 45 years 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of lower rates on loans and higher savings yields. The cooperative nature of credit unions enables 1st Financial to provide products and services at very reasonable rates.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri and a wide array of companies throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area. 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial organization committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? If you live, work, worship, attend school, or regularly conduct business in St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Charles County, Missouri, you can open an account today with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.

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Dan Goeke graduated with a M.A. from Webster University in Advertising and Marketing Communications in 2012. He is currently a Marketing Specialist at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union from St. Charles Missouri.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Supports Junior Achievement and Area Children in November

December 23rd, 2015-1st Financial Federal Credit Union served Junior Achievement in November as part of the Helping People 1st Grant program.

The Helping People 1st Grant was created by 1st Financial Federal Credit Union to support non-profit organizations that are focused on Housing, Financial Literacy, Job Training, or Education efforts in the St. Louis area. In November, the St. Charles Branch continued this program by serving Junior Achievement.

Junior Achievement is the world’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis has been helping students discover the tools they need to succeed in their adult lives since 1943.

The St. Charles branch of 1st Financial spent November promoting Junior Achievement to the community. Additionally, on November 24th 1st Financial employees taught “J.A. Our Community”, Junior Achievement’s latest curriculum, to eight classrooms at Heritage Primary School in Wentzville, MO.  This program, which focuses on teaching students money management skills, jobs, the role of government in finance, and the importance of voting within the community helps develop math skills, increases vocabulary, and career awareness. On Wednesday, November 9th, St. Charles Branch Manager Chuck Holmes presented Tracie Roberson, Program Manager for Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis, with a check for $500.00.

“Junior Achievement depends on the support of local businesses in order to bring programs to more than 149,000 students throughout our service area,” said Lori Jacob, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Greater St. Louis. “This partnership is exemplified by the support that we’ve received from 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.”

She continued, saying “By donating both time and money, and developing an ongoing relationship with students and teachers at Heritage Elementary school, they are helping us to teach even more students about the importance of work readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship.”

For more information on Junior Achievement, please visit www.juniorachievement.org.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org.

ja in a day

Pictured from Left to Right: Fornisha Morgan, Kacie Alexander, Joy Verner, Matthew Deane, Tracy Verner Miranda McDuffie, and Becca Cooper of1st Financial Federal Credit Union volunteering at Heritage Primary School on Wednesday November 25th.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas.  For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member?  Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Awards Community Grant to Help Veterans this Holiday Season

December 8th, 2015- 1st Financial Federal Credit Union’s Your Community 1st Grant program has selected Dave Woolley of H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE to receive a $500 grant which will be used to support military members, veterans, and their families.

In 2015, the 1st Financial Leadership team expanded their successful monthly giving program and created the Your Community 1st Grant.  This program focuses on supporting individuals who are working to create positive change within their community.  Quarterly, 1st Financial will present a $500 donation to be used for an existing community need or certified 501(c)3 charitable organization or not for profit agency.

Recipients of the Your Community 1st Grant are chosen based on the severity of the need and the recipient’s willingness to work towards helping members of their community achieve personal or financial growth. (For example: Education, Housing, Financial Literacy, etc.) 1st Financial is excited to award the Your Community 1st Grant to Dave Woolley and H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE.

H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE provides support for military members, veterans, and their families before, during, and after deployment through specially trained caregivers in the communities where they live.  H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE, which stands for Homefront Enabling Relationships, Opportunities, and Empowerment through Support, consists of a network of tens of thousands of trained caregivers and thousands of professional mental health care and service providers working together to provide an unprecedented system of support for military members and their families.

In the application, Mr. Woolley spoke about using the grant to help fund a case management program to provide services to military families in need of financial counselling to help stabilize family situations.

“Every day we receive requests from families struggling with financial issues resulting from the effects of military service,” remarked Dave Wolley, Executive Vice President of H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE.  “Our thanks to 1st Financial family of associates who help make it possible to meet the needs of these families.”

On November 10th 2015, the 1st Financial Branch in Wentzville partnered with H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE to host multiple educational seminars focusing on helping Veterans, Active Duty, and Military Families.  Between sessions, Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union presented the $500 Grant to Dave Woolley, Executive Vice President of H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE.

For more information about the H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE, please visit http://heroescare.org/

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

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Pictured from Left to Right: Lynn Adams, Business Development Executive with Enterprise Car Sales; Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; Bryan Harms, Account Executive with Enterprise Car Sales; and Dave Woolley, Executive Vice President of H.E.R.O.E.S. CARE.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices.  1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas.  For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County.  Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member?  Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Opens 2,800 College Savings Accounts for St. Louis Students

December 2nd, 2015 1st Financial Federal Credit Union announces a partnership with the City of St. Louis Treasury Office to create 2,800 accounts for their College Kids Savings Account Program which will be used to support college savings efforts for every kindergartner in the City of St. Louis.

The City of St. Louis has one of the largest underbanked populations in the nation. An estimated 14 percent of St. Louis City families have no accounts at traditional financial institution while the national average is 9.7 percent. Because they lack access to a banking account, these residents are more likely to fall prey to payday lenders and high-fee check-cashing businesses.

Once a resident starts using these services instead of traditional financial institutions, it is often very difficult to get out from under the loan due to uncapped fees and hidden penalties. The best way to ensure our children are protected from living loan to loan is by guaranteeing that our youth are financially literate and have a chance to get a college education. Unfortunately, many of the families who live in the City of St. Louis are not ready to assume the financial burden of saving for college and past mistakes leave them unable to open an account at a traditional financial institution.

The City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office has developed an innovative program to help kick start the saving process and ease the burden for families. The College Kids Children’s Savings Account Program encourages college savings and promotes financial literacy for the City’s schoolchildren and families through children’s savings accounts, financial education, incentives, and dollar-for-dollar matches. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chosen by the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office to open over 2,800 accounts and provide ongoing financial support to help the students save for their college education. Additionally, 1st Financial will offer support for participant’s families in order to further serve the St. Louis area. The Treasurer’s Office kick started the program on December 1st with a $175,000.00 deposit.

“My office has made a commitment to invest in the future by providing college savings accounts for EVERY kindergartener in a public school throughout the City of St. Louis,” says Treasurer Tishaura O. Jones. “Our partnership with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union allows parents and family members to make deposits into the savings accounts at any shared branch location. Together, we are eliminating barriers to college access one savings account at a time!”

Having a college savings account, regardless of the balance, can be enough motivation to pursue a college education. Even children with low balances as low as $1 in a dedicated savings account are 2.5 times more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than students with no previous savings. The initial $50 seed deposit used to open the accounts is provided by the City of St. Louis Treasurer’s Office, coming from parking fees collected by the City of St. Louis. Students can then earn additional incentives including:

• Weekly Perfect Attendance: Students can earn $1/week during the school year for attending school and arriving on time for each day of school in session that week.

• Smart Saver: Deposits will receive a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $100 during the first year.

• Financial Education: Parents and guardians are able to earn an additional $50 in contributions by completing financial education courses in-person, online through Wells Fargo Hands on Banking® and through the College Kids smartphone app.

1st Financial will offer support for participant’s families in order to further serve the St. Louis area. The secondary goal of the program is to reduce the unbanked population of St. Louis by teaching the children and their families about the responsible use of money and how to avoid getting trapped in the cycle of payday loan businesses. The College Kids Program will ensure access to healthy banking services for underbanked and unbanked citizens, while developing a culture of savings and asset building.

For more information about the College Kids Program, please visit http://www.stlofe.org/collegekids

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

2015-12-1 College Kids Press Conference (2)

Pictured from Left to Right: Carol Minges, Chief Executive Officer for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; Laura Woods, Vice President of Marketing and Community Presence for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; and Tishaura Jones, City of St. Louis Treasurer.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Supports Connections to Success in September

December 1st, 2015-1st Financial Federal Credit Union served Connections to Success in September as part of the Helping People 1st Grant program by collecting used business-wear and raising donations.

The Helping People 1st Grant was created by 1st Financial Federal Credit Union to support non-profit organizations that are focused on Housing, Financial Literacy, Job Training, or Education efforts in the St. Louis area.  In September, the Wentzville Branch continued this program by serving Connections to Success.

Connections to Success is a non-profit agency with offices in St. Charles, St. Louis, and Kansas City working to break the cycle of poverty through hope, resources, and a plan.  Connections to Success provides educational programs, job placement resources, and mentoring for men and women.

The Wentzville Branch of 1st Financial spent September promoting Connections to Success within the branch and also held fundraising events.  To raise donations, the branch staff purchased lunches directly from Connections to Success, sold cookie dough and decorative pins in the Lobby, and raffled off a wine basket sponsored by Liberty Mutual.  Additionally, 1st Financial employees held a month long clothing drive to collect used business wear for Connections participants.  On Thursday, October 1st, Wentzville Branch Manager Pat Johnson presented Connections to Success with a check for $731.00.

1st Financial Federal Credit Union representatives also served Connections To Success by attending a mock interview session on Friday, September 4th at the St. Charles Connections office.  1st Financial employees asked job interview questions and critiqued responses in order to help participants get ready to start their careers.

“We are so grateful for 1st Financial’s support throughout the year,” said Kathy Lambert.  “Just as the families we serve are empowered over the long-term, we treasure community partners like 1st Financial that invest their time, talent, and treasure in our mission over and over again.”

For more information about Connections to Success, please visit http://connectionstosuccess.org/.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org.

Connections to Success

Pictured from Left to Right: Pat Johnson,Wentzville Branch Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; and Miranda Bell, Regional Volunteer and Mentorship Manager for Connections to Success.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices.  1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas.  For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County.  Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member?  Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Supports Homeless St. Louisans in October

December 1st, 2015-1st Financial Federal Credit Union served Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed in October as part of the Helping People 1st Grant program.

The Helping People 1st Grant was created by 1st Financial Federal Credit Union to support non-profit organizations that are focused on Housing, Financial Literacy, Job Training, or Education efforts in the St. Louis area.  In October, the Washington Avenue Branch continued this program by serving Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed.

Since 1986, Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed has been a service for women and families affected by homelessness in the Saint Louis area.  Located at 1000 North 19th Street in St. Louis, Gateway 180 is the largest 24 hour emergency housing organization in the state for families and provides facilities that work to end homelessness through the support of donors, collaborative partners, and charitable fundraising.

“We are thankful and honored to partner with 1st Financial Federal Credit Union in the fight to end family homelessness in the St. Louis region,” said Kathy Connors, Development Director of Gateway 180: Homelessness Reversed.  At Gateway 180, we are committed to strengthening families and getting them back into their own homes.  We understand that strong families and strong households build strong communities.”

The Washington Avenue Branch of 1st Financial spent October promoting Gateway 180 within the branch and also held fundraising events.  Additionally, 1st Financial employees volunteered with Gateway 180 employees on October 16th and 17th to host a costume drive to collect used Halloween costumes for children living at the shelter.  On Friday, November 6th, Downtown Branch Manager Karen Neel presented Gateway 180 with a check for $714.50.

“We are so honored to receive this award from your organization,” said Nygia Chapman, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Gateway 180.  “We work to strengthen our community and the families we currently house in our facility.”

She continued, saying, “Your gift helps us to continue our mission to achieve permanent, independent stability for our families.”

For more information about Gateway 180, please visit http://www.gateway180.org/.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org.

gateway 180

Pictured from Left to Right: Karen Neel, Downtown Branch Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union; Kathy Connors, Development Director of Gateway 180; Nygia Chapman, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator for Gateway 180; and Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager for 1st Financial Federal Credit Union.

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices.  1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas.  For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County.  Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member?  Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Honored Nationally For Community Service Programs

October 29, 2015– 1st Financial Federal Credit Union wins 1st place in Missouri for the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award and receives an honorable mention for the Dora Maxwell Responsibility Community Service Award, both of which recognize outstanding community development achievements in the credit union industry.

In September 2015, it was announced that 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was the recipient of two awards, given annually by the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). These awards were given in response to the extraordinary dedication of 1st Financial to the St. Louis and St. Charles communities through the STL Youth Jobs program and the Helping People 1st Grant program.

“I am so very proud of everyone’s efforts towards helping us make such a significant impact with both initiatives,” said Carol Minges, CEO of 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. “This is a testament to all of the work the team is doing to serve our community. Helping people is what we do and our employees are making a huge difference to the members we serve and to the St. Louis area. We would not have received the awards without our employee’s continued commitment to making a difference.”

The Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service Award is given to a credit union for its practical application of credit union philosophy within the actual operation of the credit union. It is awarded for internal programs and services that benefit membership. 1st Financial was awarded a 1st Place recognition for the Louise Herring Philosophy-in-Action Member Service award due to the results of the STL Youth Jobs program, which has given access to over 1,100 free checking accounts to local at risk youth.  This program has also provided hundreds of hours of financial literacy for working young people in St. Louis city.  To date, these youth have saved over $40,000.

Louise Herring was an active supporter, organizer, and champion of credit unions. She was the Ohio delegate to the 1934 national credit union conference in Estes Park, CO where she signed the original constitution for a national credit union association.  Louise believed that credit unions should work in a practical manner to better people’s lives.  She saw the credit union as more than just a financial institution.  In her own words, “the purpose of the credit union is to reform the financial system, so that everyone can have his place in the sun.”

The Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility Community Service Award is given to a credit union or chapter/multiple credit union group for its external social responsibility projects within the community. 1st Financial was awarded an honorable mention for the Dora Maxell Social Responsibility Award due to the results of the Helping People 1st Grant program, which has provided over $20,000 and hundreds of paid volunteer hours to local nonprofits in our communities.

Dora Maxwell was an early credit union pioneer, and was one of the original signers of CUNA’s constitutions at Estes Park in Colorado. She worked as an organizer for the movement’s trade association and held numerous volunteer positions at the local and national level.  In addition to organizing hundreds of credit unions, she developed volunteer organizer clubs and worked with organizations on behalf of the poor.

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org

About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas.  For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member?  Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.


1st Financial Federal Credit Union Hires Financial Empowerment Specialist

Youth Build

October 7, 20151st Financial Federal Credit Union, a community development not for profit banking institution in St. Louis, MO, has hired a dedicated Financial Empowerment Specialist to work one on one with newly employed youth.

Created as a joint venture with the St. Louis Agency on Training and Education (SLATE), 1st Financial Federal Credit Union has hired Ted Thornton as a full time educator and one on one counselor for thousands of youth, served through the ongoing Summer Youth Jobs program.

Over the last two years, 1st Financial has provided free financial education, checking accounts and debit cards to thousands of youth throughout St. Louis, working together closely to meet the needs of the underserved through various Summer Youth Jobs programs. Since 2014, in partnership with Ms. Tishaura Jones, the St. Louis City Treasurer, the credit union was able to assist with the delivery of financial literacy and products for programs that served youth learning construction trades, creating financial magazines and entering the workforce after recently being released from the prison system. As the program has grown, so has the need for a dedicated Financial Empowerment Specialist to provide more thorough and comprehensive financial literacy training.

While participants have opened 1199 accounts and saved over $40,516.06, there are many more area youth that have not been able to take advantage of these programs.

Michael Holmes, Executive Director of SLATE recently said, “Financial Literacy is an integral part of saving the lives of our young people. When we talk about job stability, pathways to prosperity, and supporting our youth into adulthood; financial literacy is vital!” Holmes went on to say, “Young people deserve an opportunity to open a checking and savings account. Young people deserve an opportunity to build good credit, create banking relationships, and prosper financially. I am happy to partner with an institution that understands the importance and able to provide products and services to meet the needs of this population.”

Ted Thornton, who holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, has seven years of teaching experience, most recently at Roosevelt High School as a TV and Radio teacher. Before he was hired at 1st Financial, Mr. Thornton worked as a Job Coach for the Urban League of Greater St. Louis.

Mentoring young adults at the Urban League helped Mr. Thornton develop a passion for serving the youth population of St. Louis. “Dealing with young people and speaking to them about financial empowerment is what drew me to this position,” said Mr. Thornton. “I know that young people don’t learn enough of this subject in their regular education and I feel that it is very important for their future success. The more we enlighten our children now, the easier it will be for them to create a better life for themselves.”

“Ted’s extensive background in Education and Community service makes him the perfect addition to our team,” said Tracy Verner, Community Development Manager at 1st Financial Federal Credit Union. “I have had the pleasure of watching Ted educate our Youth Build participants at MERS Goodwill as well as our youth at The Urban League through STL Youth Jobs. On both occasions he demonstrated the ability to successfully engage, educate, and build trust with the youth in our community.”

For more information about 1st Financial Federal Credit Union and the credit union difference, please visit www.1stfinancialfcu.org.

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About 1st Financial Federal Credit Union

Like many credit unions, 1st Financial is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative committed to providing quality services to the membership while demonstrating safe and sound business practices. 1st Financial Federal Credit Union was chartered on September 3, 1968 as District 837 Credit Union by the International Association of Machinist members employed by McDonnell Douglas. For over 45 years, 1st Financial has provided members with a full line of dependable financial products and services which returns profits to the members in the form of reasonable rates on loans and higher savings yields.

Today, with over 30,000 members and $204 million in assets, 1st Financial is able to serve anyone who lives, works (regularly does business in), worships or attends school in the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County or St. Charles County. Deposits are federally insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), an agency of the U.S. Government.

Not a credit union member? Visit www.TheBetterWayToBank.org for more information.