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Alternatives Federal Credit Union

125 N. Fulton Street
Ithaca, NY 14850

Contact: Deirdre Silverman, Director of Community Programs
Phone: 607-273-4611
Fax: 607-277-6391
Alternatives Federal Credit Union

Alternatives Federal Credit Union (Alternatives), founded in 1979, is an innovative Community Development Financial Institution, dedicated to building wealth and creating economic opportunity for underserved people and communities in central New York state. Alternatives' mission is to provide access to transaction services, community investment opportunities, and education about capital, as well as capital investment in individuals, small businesses and nonprofits. Since its inception, Alternatives has made more than 25,000 loans in pursuit of this mission.


Client Population

Alternatives Federal Credit Union has more than 9,000 members. Alternatives' members and borrowers are from communities in seven counties in central New York. Forty-five percent are from rural areas, and 55 percent minor urban. Sixty-four percent of the clients are women and 19 percent are part of an ethnic minority population. Many borrowers have limited financial assets, with 69 percent of clients coming from households with income below 80 percent of area median income. The client population is made up of 9 percent African Americans, 2 percent Asians, 4 percent Latinos, 1 percent Native Americans, 80 percent Caucasians, and 4 percent others.



Alternatives Federal Credit Union
The young children in this picture go to Under Cottonwood Childcare Center, owner by Alternatives member Mary Biggs. Mary went to a symposium at GIAC on starting small businesses and met Leslie Ackerman, Director of Business CENTS. “I approached Leslie about Alternatives’ one-on-one business counseling,” Mary said. “She was wonderful. I worked with her on writing a business plan – I am not a business person and didn’t know what I was doing. She talked me through the whole thing.” Full Story

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