WBEZ brings you fact-based news and information. Sign up for our newsletters to stay up to date on the stories that matter.“
For the first time, residents of one of Illinois’ poorest communities will have the chance to go to the bank.
Pembroke Township, 60 miles south of Chicago, will get its first financial institution when Credit Union One opens its doors.
The 3,000 residents of Hopkins Park-Pembroke have lacked many of the most basic services for decades.
Rural, black and desperately poor, large swaths of the community have existed with no paved roads, or running water.
The nearly 3,000 residents have access to only one ATM machine, and some have to travel as far as 55 miles to get to the nearest bank.
Hopkins Park Mayor Jones Dyson says the arrival of the credit union will help him keep his town alive.
Union One is the credit union used by state workers, and under a special arrangement, Pembroke residents can now be members.
The state has helped the area in other ways, such as paving nine miles of road and bringing Internet access to the local town hall.
The Credit Union is expected to open early next year.