By Christine Fisher

Parkside: Credit Union Opens in Shopping Center

Parkside: Credit Union Opens in Shopping Center
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Branch Manager Maurice Talley greets customers at the American Heritage Federal Credit Union branch opening.

Brown’s Family ShopRite has partnered with American Heritage Federal Credit Union (AMHFCU) to launch a credit union branch in the grocery chain’s Parkside location.

The launch event, held earlier this month at the grocery store and credit union’s location at 52nd and Jefferson streets, featured speeches by those leading the partnership and free refreshments for attendees and credit union and grocery store customers.

The new branch will offer no minimum balance requirement, no monthly maintenance fee and no ATM transaction fees in an attempt to offer the community an affordable banking resource, said Jeffrey Brown, president and CEO of Brown’s Family ShopRite, and Bruce Foulke, president and CEO of American Heritage Federal Credit Union.

“We are a nonprofit organization,” Foulke said. “We seek out low income areas to help serve the people in those areas.”

Brown's Family ShopRite and American Heritage Federal Credit Union customers try refreshments provided during the credit union's grand opening.

Brown’s Family ShopRite is an 11-store supermarket business that has gained national recognition for partnering with lower-income communities in Philadelphia and emphasizing the importance of fresh, affordable produce.

“This location employs about 280 people, unionized jobs,” Brown said. “Because we’re here, Lowe’s came, and this whole shopping center is thriving. I think it’s well over 1,000 jobs, permanent jobs.”

This is the first credit union branch to open in a Brown’s Family ShopRite location.

Both companies hope the credit union will assist local residents and encourage economic development in Parkside, where the 2000 census reported per capita income was $16,519. In 2011, the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia Research Initiative reported approximately 25 percent of the area’s population live in poverty and just 24.7 percent of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, the research initiative found that between 2000 and 2010 there was a 9.2 percent decrease in population.

Jeffrey Brown, right, speaks with board members of UpLift Solutions, a nonprofit organization that assisted in the credit union's launch.

“What has happened is we’re taking what was not right, which was not justifiable but people had a bad perception, and we’re showing that it is very, very possible to succeed and thrive here,” Brown said.

“The community is thriving. We’re thriving, and all businesses are thriving. American Heritage Federal Credit Union, they’re going to thrive too.”

AMHFCU plans to offer lower rates on loans, higher rates on savings and an overall reduction in personal banking expenses.

“This branch is just like any other branch, except and that’s a big except, it is a high tech branch,” Foulke said.

It is the first AMHFCU to use a Personal Automated Teller (PAT) machine, which utilizes two-way video interaction to let customers speak with a live teller at the credit union’s main office and perform any transaction that would be possible at a traditional teller counter.

This credit union branch is also supported by UpLift Solutions, the nonprofit Brown created to assist underserved communities, such as Parkside.

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