Our History

The Community Owned Federal Credit Union (COFCU) was founded by Esau Jenkins (July 3, 1910 – October 30, 1972) and a small group of visionaries in 1966. It was founded to provide low-income residents of Johns Island and a segment of the Charleston community with broader access to financial products and services denied to them by the larger financial institutions.

Esau Jenkins
Esau Jenkins (center), Alfred Fields, right, and Rev. Willis Goodwin with Citizens Committee van in background.

Since then the COFCU membership has grown to include the entire Charleston area. Currently it is one of only two designated low-income credit union in the state of
South Carolina. This designation is designed specifically to help the credit union serve members recognized to have challenges accession mainstream financial products and services–the original goal of Esau Jenkins.

Since its inception the Credit Union has made over $10,000,000.00 available to its members in the form of loans for home repairs, automobile purchases, and members’personal use or projects.

For five decades the Community Owned Federal Credit Union has been in the community providing a helping hand. The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC has recognized the innovation by Mr. Jenkins and have established a section dedicated to him. Charleston’s International African American Museum will also follow suit of the museum in DC and have a section dedicated to Mr. Jenkins.