Thomas B. Patterson Piedmont Credit Union
The story of how Thomas B. Patterson Piedmont Credit Union came to be is all you need to know.
How The Thomas B. Patterson Piedmont Credit Union Started
At the beginning of 1918, Thomas Patterson, who was living and working as a farmer at Landis, Rowan County, North Carolina, was living in a small town.
There were a number of things that African Americans in the United States went through during this time, particularly those who lived in the South, just 53 years after slavery had been abolished in the country.
Due to the fact that African Americans did not have the ability to borrow money after slavery ended, they had to cooperate with one another in order to find a way to raise funds for their businesses. Due to Jim Crow laws and the fact that black people were not able to borrow money from conventional banks, many Black people struggled to get by.
By law, a black individual had to obtain a certificate of good moral character from a white person, before he could take out a loan, if he wanted to get one.
At that time, farmers were widely adopting the crop-lien method of payment. By pledging the next crop’s output as collateral, farmers could obtain credit in order to pay for food, fertilizer, and other necessities. Farmers who were struggling to make ends meet could not afford the high interest rates linked to the crop-lien system. Regardless of whether the crops were successful or not, the loans had to be repaid.
Patterson realized he was going to have to take action in order to assure that African American farmers in Rowan County would not have to be burdened with debt for the rest of their lives.
The Piedmont Credit Union was formed April 19, 1918, by Thomas B. Patterson of Landis (Rowan County) and 22 African-American farmers, who brought together $126 in capital to establish an African-American credit union in North Carolina, the very first credit union founded by African-Americans in the entire United States.
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Contributions Of Patterson Piedmont
As a founding member of the first African American credit union in the United States, Patterson played an important role in the development of the credit union movement. A crucial step in the ongoing fight for racial equality was made possible by his work, which changed how African American farmers could access loans, which was a pivotal event in the struggle.
In order to save money and provide wealth to the Piedmont Credit Union, it worked together as a group to purchase food, fertilizer, and other supplies. The interest rate on loans provided to farmers was fixed at 6 percent at the time.
At a time when there were racist laws that prohibited African-Americans from voting in elections as a matter of principle, members of the credit union were able to run for office, and choose their own directors through the credit union.
This was a complete success for Piedmont Credit Union, as it used the right strategy to achieve their goals. There were 82 members of Piedmont at the end of 1919 and there was a total of $1,347.83 in the bank. Piedmont’s expansion became known in the course of time. It is estimated that by 1920, a total of 13 additional African American credit unions had been established in the state.
It is important to note that the establishment of these credit unions marked a significant turning point in the lives of African American farmers living in this area. Through the use of the cooperative concept, they were able to obtain reasonable interest rates on loans while avoiding the unscrupulous practices associated with crop-lien systems.
While Piedmont Credit Union has shutdown, the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC) that has its headquarters in St. Louis is still in existence, despite Piedmont CU’s demise. Founded in 1999, the AACUC now provides a range of services to more than 150 credit unions throughout the United States as part of its mission.
According to Patterson, a man’s status in a community is determined by his ability to save and not by what he has acquired. Additionally, he mentioned that one of the biggest setbacks often faced by farmers is their inability to access capital. In spite of this, his credit union provided financial assistance to farmers.
There is no doubt that Thomas contributed immensely to the advancement of racial equity in the credit union sector, both as a pioneer and a leader.
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