“Did I say this was a long process, a very, very long process,” joked Ajamu Webster, at the ribbon cutting for the new WeDevelopment Federal Credit Union, set to open at 3123 Prospect Ave., in Kansas City, MO. 

Webster, president of the Board of Directors of WeDevelopment wasn’t actually joking, even though his audience of board members, supporters and community fans, chuckled a bit.  They all knew the not so inside joke.  It had taken 13 years to get to this point and still the credit union wasn’t quite ready to open. 

Renovation of the bank space wasn’t complete, but in respect to Webster, who’s moving to Africa in a matter of days, the board of directors decided to have the ribbon cutting early, so Webster could attend.    

Webster is one of three original board members who has worked on chartering  the Community Development Credit Union since the vision was hatched in 2009.   The idea came out of a task force commissioned by then KCMO Mayor Mark Funkhouser. He formed the commission to find economic development tools that would work at improving “economically distressed areas” of Kansas City.

After the task force completed its work, Webster, who chaired the task force, and a few other task force members started to work on the reports recommendation to open a CDCU.

As chartered, the credit union is established to serve “a contiguous economically distressed area,” with boundaries along the river on the north, to 85th St. on the South, Troost on the west to 435.

Ribbon Cutting

At the ribbon cutting, thanks and accolades were plentiful. 

Members of the board thanked Gwen Washington, the credit union’s CEO, who spent the past four years helping to guide the organization through the last of the chartering process with the National Credit Union Association. 

Washington introduced her team — Anthony Mondaine and Shai Smith  — who will join her in delivering exceptional customer service to the credit union’s members. 

Webster thanked members of the Credit Union’s Board of directors and bragged about their qualifications to help guide and ensure the credit union’s success.  On the 16-member board, Webster says there are “four Certified Public Accountants, five people with banking leadership experience, three people with credit union leadership experience, three people with financial investment experience, three financial auditing experts, one banking compliance and risk expert and one member who is a current CEO of a credit union.

“Your money is going to be safe,” said an emphatic Webster.

He thanked the big donors who helped make the non-profit credit union a reality, but he also thanked all the community members who gave $10 and $20 to help raise the funds needed to make the financial institution a reality. 

“Let it be known that this was a citywide project,” said Webster.  “Our regulators said they’ve never seen anything like this before…the community and the city get behind and put a credit union together.”

Next Steps

The credit union is set to open to customers on Mon., Dec. 5, with an extensive list of products and services including; personal and business checking, a variety of savings accounts, debit cards, mobile and online banking, auto loans, lines of credit, signature loans, payday rescue loans, wealth building CDs and both youth and adult savings account. 

“Alright, we got it done and what you can do to help us right now is to let this community that WeDevelopment Federal Credit Union is here,” said Webster to the gathered crowd. 

“Let the community know this is the opportunity to not just come in and join, but to be an owner, because when you take out a membership in a credit union, you are also an owner. 

“Let it be known that we are standing on the soldiers of those who come before us   to make sure the needs of our community are going to be met.

“We are seeking your support and we appreciate all you have done,” Webster concluded. 

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Bonita Gooch

Since 1996, Bonita has served as as Editor-in-Chief of The Community Voice newspaper. As the owner, she has guided the Wichita-based publication’s growth in reach across the state of Kansas and into...