Business Loan Connection

What is a Credit Union?

Credit unions are financial service cooperatives (aka co-ops). They offer the same accounts and loans commonly found at banks, but they are not for profit, and democratically owned and controlled by their members. Anyone with an account at a credit union has an equal share of the ownership, and an equal vote in electing the Board of Directors which governs the credit union – regardless of how much money they have on deposit. Credit unions are federally insured by NCUA. Learn more about credit unions and co-ops.

What is a CDFI?

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are credit unions, loan funds, community banks, and other organizations that specialize in providing loans and other financial products to economically distressed, under-served communities. Generally, CDFIs pair loans with education and counseling to help their clients build financial strength. CDFIs are certified by the US Department of the Treasury CDFI Fund.

Credit Union Partners is a unique collaboration between community development credit unions in central and upstate New York. By connecting existing and aspiring business owners to financial and skill-building opportunities, we work to cultivate successful small businesses throughout our combined service area. is brought to you by the following CDFI-certified Credit Unions:

Alternatives Federal Credit Union
Ithaca, NY

Since 1979, Alternatives Federal Credit Union has grown its impact and expanded its reach by fulfilling a mission to build wealth and create economic opportunity for underserved people and communities. It offers a full range of products and development services, including savings and checking accounts, consumer, mortgage and business lending – all designed to meet the needs of the Low Income Targeted Population in the NY counties of Tompkins, Cortland, Tioga, Chemung, Schuyler, Seneca and Cayuga.

Cooperative Federal
Syracuse, NY

Cooperative Federal (Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union) was founded in 1982 to provide a socially-responsible, community-owned alternative to corporate banks. By delivering accounts, loans, and financial counseling to small business, homeowners, and other individuals throughout the Greater Syracuse Metro Area, Cooperative Federal works to strengthen neighborhoods, rebuild the local economy, and foster economic justice.

Cooperative Federal specializes in serving people who are marginalized by the mainstream economy, including low-income households and New Americans, as well as allies in the movement to build a solidarity economy.