For a neighborhood to truly prosper, it’s important for its residents to build wealth. That’s why the key message of the Russell neighborhood’s “A Place of Promise” initiative is to create homeowners and business owners.
For Joseph Scott, owner of Joash Construction, cash flow has always been a challenge in running his 19-year-old company. He was among the first to take advantage of a new Micro-Commercial Loan offered by Park Community Credit Union. The local institution is making a special push in Russell and surrounding neighborhoods, creating loans never before available.
“It’s been extra helpful for me in handling my cash flow, and it’s also helped me build my credit score,” Scott says of the $10,000 loan he got. “It’s worked wonders for me in making payroll and buying equipment.”
Scott’s company does resurfacing work for basketball and tennis courts and paves sidewalks. He used part of his loan to put a down payment of $5,000 on a track hoe.
To spread word about the program, Raymond Smith, Vice President of Community Development for PCCU, has been attending neighborhood meetings to speak with residents about building wealth throughout West Louisville.
The loan Scott obtained was for $10,000 on a 3-year term at 3.99 percent. But the special feature is that the credit union will refund 100 percent of the interest if all payments are made on time.
Another unique offering is for home buyers – Smith says the bank has set aside $7.5 million to make loans for homes in West Louisville. These loans can be up to $125,000, with no down payment required. And the credit union is determined to make sure that no reasonable buyer will be turned down, offering to fund loans to individuals with credit scores as low as 585.
The credit union also will waive Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) requirements and provide up to $2,000 in closing costs.
Credit Union CEO Jim Spradlin is making sure he personally stays involved in this innovative program.
“I have asked to see all of the loans that come through to make sure we’re not missing any opportunities and that we’re making the most of the program for the community,” he says. “The Russell initiative is important because we have several products that we can use … to help the revitalization of home ownership (and) business building.”
He says the special programs are part of the institution’s DNA to help its members build wealth.
“We came up with loans to help new businesses get started and entrepreneurs get started,” he says. “Sometimes there’s a bump in the road and you just need money for a piece of equipment or just something to get you going.”
Smith says he wants the building boom in West Louisville to benefit small businesses, and the business micro-loan can make a difference. He says the credit union will grant special loans for businesses that obtain a contract but need to make a purchase to buy equipment or supplies to do the work. When the contract is paid, then the business can repay the loan.
“Park is excited to be part of” West Louisville, Spradlin says. “When we look into the future, we see a thriving Russell area that spreads not only into Russell but throughout the West End, to the California neighborhood, or the Portland neighborhood and all the areas there.”