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Peoples Advantage FCU: Leading the Charge in Community Financial Empowerment


People's Advantage FCU

As a distinguished member of the Virginia Credit Union League, Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union shines through its dedication to financial education and community empowerment, particularly in underserved areas of Petersburg, Virginia. Their commitment as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) not only underscores their mission but also reflects their deep-rooted values in building stable financial futures.

Empowering the Community through Education

Peoples Advantage’s financial education initiative is a cornerstone of their mission, aiming to be the financial empowerment hub that rebuilds and strengthens communities. This program is particularly pivotal in Petersburg, where the homeownership rate stands at just 39%, much lower than the state average of 69%. One of their key objectives is to elevate this rate by enabling first-time homeownership, particularly for those who start their financial journey with the credit union’s innovative “no credit check” loan and work closely with a financial coach. These efforts are designed not just to provide financial literacy but to forge stronger, more informed borrowers who can sustain their financial well-being long-term.

Innovative Coaching for Lasting Impact

Furthermore, they have pioneered a unique approach to financial coaching, viewing it as essential to true financial stability. Peoples Advantage recognizes that education is just the starting point—ongoing personalized coaching is crucial. With dedicated financial coaches for consumer, real estate, and small business sectors, the credit union ensures that its members receive expert, tailored advice that helps them navigate complex financial decisions and develop healthier financial habits.

Utilizing CDFI Status to Drive Community Development

As a CDFI, Peoples Advantage has harnessed opportunities like grants and subordinated debt to launch significant community-centric programs. These include the “Advantage Home Loan” for first-time buyers and a small business lending initiative, both of which cater specifically to the unique needs of the Petersburg community. These programs are not just financial products but are carefully crafted to fill the actual gaps within the community, thus building trust and fostering a stronger economic environment.

Community Engagement and Overcoming Challenges

Engaging deeply with the community has been key to overcoming trust barriers. Traditional marketing strategies were revamped in favor of direct community involvement—partnering with local entities like housing authorities and schools, and even deploying a full-service mobile branch to deliver financial services directly in the community. This hands-on approach has significantly shifted local perceptions, drawing more members to participate in and benefit from the credit union’s offerings.

Collaborative Efforts and Looking Ahead

Peoples Advantage actively collaborates with various local organizations, understanding that financial health is intertwined with broader social determinants like employment and housing. Looking forward, the credit union plans to continue evolving its programs to meet the changing needs of the community, ensuring their initiatives remain relevant and impactful.

The Credit Union Difference in Community Financial Empowerment

Peoples Advantage Federal Credit Union’s approach exemplifies the credit union difference, a concept that distinguishes these institutions from traditional banks. This ethos is rooted in their deep commitment to the communities they serve, focusing not just on financial transactions but on improving financial literacy and economic stability for all members, particularly those in underserved areas. This philosophy ensures that the benefits of financial growth and education are accessible to everyone, which is especially important in areas like Petersburg, where Peoples Advantage is instrumental in raising homeownership rates and providing tailored financial solutions. This community-first approach underlines the significant impact that credit unions can have, setting them apart in the financial sector by prioritizing people over profit.

Through these extensive efforts, Peoples Advantage FCU exemplifies the principles that the Virginia Credit Union League holds dear: commitment to community empowerment, financial education, and proactive member support. Their ongoing work not only enhances individual lives but also strengthens the very fabric of the communities they serve.

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