Samira Rajan had planned to spend a year working with community institutions in low-income neighborhoods before going back to financial regulation, when she met the CEO of the brand-new Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union on Sept. 14, 2001. But she stayed and by 2008, was the CEO of what, today, is arguably one of the Brooklyn economy’s most important institutions. While it has just $50 million in assets and focuses on a few predominantly Black and Brown neighborhoods, since 2010 it has made more federally-guaranteed small business loans in Brooklyn than Citibank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America combined. After the credit union opened, its most important early source of funding was the US Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which supports access to credit and financial services in low-to-moderate income communities. In March 2020, Brooklyn Cooperative held $26 million in deposits and $24 million in active loans in its portfolio. Today it has more than $40 million in deposits and $35 million in loans.

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