By Candice Hill Buchbinder, ELCA News
The ELCA Federal Credit Union, the new credit union of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), celebrated its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony June 6 at its headquarters in The Lutheran Center in Chicago. This is the first credit union chartered by the National Credit Union Administration to open in Illinois in 10 years. The institution will serve ELCA members, congregations and ELCA-related ministries and their employees.
“We’re so excited to be offering this new opportunity for all of our members and those affiliated ministries around the country,” said the Rev. Arnold Pierson, president of the ELCA Federal Credit Union. “Our prime responsibility is to be able to offer all members of the church a socially responsible way to connect their financial services.”
The ELCA credit union supports the ELCA’s mission to promote wise stewardship of members’ and congregations’ financial resources, based on the ELCA’s social statement on economic life, “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All.” The statement, adopted by the 1999 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, expresses ELCA teaching that economic activity is a means through which God’s will is served for the thriving and wellbeing of humankind and the care of the earth.
In her remarks during the opening ceremony, ELCA Presiding Bishop Elizabeth A. Eaton compared the credit union to services offered by many payday lending institutions. “The ELCA Federal Credit Union is responsible stewardship. It makes services available to everyone. It’s socially responsible and is a great benefit not only to members of the ELCA churchwide organization but to all our members across the church,” said Eaton.
The ELCA Mission Investment Fund, a financial ministry of the ELCA, was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the creation of the ELCA Federal Credit Union and securing the charter approval by the National Credit Union Administration. The fund specializes in church building projects.
“I’m very proud today to be a part of the ELCA and part of an institution that had the vision to create a credit union for its employees, its members and ministries,” said Eva Roby, president and chief executive officer of the ELCA Mission Investment Fund. “It’s been thrilling to participate in the creation of this fourth financial ministry of the ELCA.”
Besides the credit union and Mission Investment Fund, the other two ELCA financial ministries are the Endowment Fund of the ELCA, a pooled fund made available through the ELCA Foundation to all
ELCA entities; and Portico Benefits Services, which provides benefits and services to enhance the well-being of ELCA rostered leaders and lay employees.
The ELCA social statement “Sufficient, Sustainable Livelihood for All” is available here.