Community Owned Federal Credit Union, located at 117 Spring St. in downtown Charleston, November 1 launched into digital banking. CEO Perrin Middleton said the new digital banking now allows members 24/7 access to their accounts. A new phone app for Android users which soon will be available to Apple users as well is the first implementation of mobile banking by a credit union of a black heritage in South Carolina.
“The COFCU Board of Directors believes small steps like online banking, along with mobile banking, will pay huge dividends for both the credit union and its members,” said COFCU CEO Perrin Middleton. COFCU also established an ATM at its Spring Street location, another benefit to the community and the credit union. The ATM may be another first among African American credit unions in the state, Middleton said. Additional services the credit union provides are savings accounts, loans and it conducts credit workshops for various organizations in the community.
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 the Charleston community with broader access to financial products and services denied to them by larger financial institutions.
Since then the COFCU membership has grown to include the entire Charleston region. Currently, it is one of only two designated low-income credit unions in South Carolina. This designation is designed to help the credit union serve members recognized as having challenges to accessing mainstream financial products and services– which was Jenkins’ goal. 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 and projects.
For more than five decades, the COFCU has been in the community providing a helping hand and Jenkins has been recognized for his vision. Jenkins was a human rights leader, businessman, and community organizer. He was the founder and moving spirit of many organizations and institutions which helped to improve the political, educational, housing, health and economic conditions of Blacks in the Charleston area.