Ten years ago, Lakota Federal Credit Union opened its doors and made history as the only federally insured depository institution located on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Since then, this credit union has touched the lives of thousands of community members and provided tools to help individuals and families build brighter futures. A for-profit bank was never an option for the reservation. By contrast, a not-for-profit credit union with a philosophy of “people helping people” has been the perfect fit for the more than two-million-acre reservation, one of the largest and poorest Native American Reservations in the United States and home to approximately 40,000 persons.
The credit union has overcome many obstacles in their relatively short existence; first, attracting deposits in an area with a high unemployment rate and a history of dealing in “cash only” transactions. Their coordinated outreach efforts have included utilizing the “Rolling Rez Arts” mobile bus, which brings credit union services to remote locations on the reservation. Their services have expanded to include the first ATM locations on the reservation, as well as certificates of deposit and checking accounts. In addition, they have offered classes in financial management, a “match savings deposit” program, educational opportunities for home buyers, auto buyers, business planning, and much more!
Less than one year after opening, Lakota FCU had reached 1,000 members. Today, the credit union has exceeded 3,600 members with more than $7.3MM in savings deposits and $3.8MM in loans. Now managing the credit union is Shayna Ferguson, who first started with the credit union in 2012 as a member service representative.
At the end of August, Lakota FCU will officially celebrate their 10-year anniversary with an open house being held on Friday, August 26, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at the Lakota Trade Center in Kyle, South Dakota. The day will be filled with food, fun, and giveaways to show appreciation for the community support received over the last decade.
While this day is about commemorating a special milestone of this organization’s growth, it is dedicated to their members who are leveraging the tools and resources made available through Lakota FCU to make better informed financial decisions, save towards financial goals, purchase vehicles, and become homeowners, all on a path to “financial well-being for all!”
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