Unlike a bank, whose investments are controlled by private decision-makers and shareholders, a credit union can decide to give every member/investor and equal vote. At the Lower East Side Credit Union, a low income community development institution, the members have chosen to keep their resources and their lending in their low-income neighborhood.
Despite the success of credit unions as an economic model, particularly for low income communities, Levy tells us that there are laws holding credit unions back.
"In New York State, municipal deposits are not allowed in Credit Unions," Levy tells us. "There is a state law that says that all municipal funds must be deposited in banks. Not credit unions, not thrifts. Only banks."