Credit unions sprout cooperative message at Green Festival

Native New Yorkers and international visitors alike obtained fresh insight into the power of cooperatives at the NYC Green Festival to mark Earth Day last month.

Native New Yorkers and international visitors alike obtained fresh insight into the power of cooperatives at the NYC Green Festival to mark Earth Day last month.

From the benefits of membership to their social responsibility impact, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions together with four New York City-based member credit unions engaged several hundred visitors about their work in the communities they serve at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan,.

Taking part in the spreading the awareness of financial cooperatives alongside the United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU) were Bethex Federal Credit Union, Union Settlement Federal Credit Union and Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union.

UNFCU’s booth was run by volunteers from the 30-strong Green Team, which is made up staff members who regularly contribute ideas to improve energy and eco-efficiencies to realize substantial reductions.

Pamela Agnone, senior vice president of Retail Services at UNFCU and Green Team Executive Sponsor said: “It was great to have our volunteers come out and represent UNFCU at this event to discuss our greening initiatives, as well as to support the Federation in this UN-declared International Year of Cooperatives. There was just so much positive energy filling the exhibit hall with each organization working to do their part for their communities and the environment.”

One of the nation’s premier sustainability events, the NYC Green Festival hosted more than one hundred renowned authors, leaders and educators, including Russell Simmons and Amy Goodman; how-to-workshops; cutting-edge films, fun activities for children, vegetarian cuisine; and live music.

With over 25,000 visitors attending, the event provided an opportunity for cooperatives to discuss their business model, particularly how members can use an array of financial cooperative services, such as at UNFCU eStatements, online forms with secure eSign features for consumer lending, just to name a few ways to limit their carbon footprint.

“We were pleased to have run into UNFCU onsite,” said Pragati Pascale, Chief, Development Section, UN Department of Public Information, who along with colleagues, interacted with a multitude of visitors at a United Nations Rio+20 “The Future We Want” booth.

“The work that credit unions are doing was definitely of interest,” said Federation Program Associate Elizabeth Friedrich, who coordinated the credit union volunteer outreach at the event. “We spoke with literally hundreds of attendees about the benefits of banking local through credit unions and handed out nearly all of the informational materials we brought with us.”

By showcasing their economic benefit and going green, these cooperatives’ first-time appearance at the festival inspired many to take action themselves.

Since 1947, UNFCU has been dedicated to serving the financial needs of the United Nations community worldwide, with members located in over 205 countries and territories.  With a comprehensive array of products and services, the credit union has branches in New York and representative offices in Geneva, Switzerland; Vienna, Austria; Nairobi, Kenya; and Rome, Italy.

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