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Jafari No-Interest CU Becomes First Chartered CU in 2016
Friday, February 26, 2016 7:00 AM

The Cornerstone Credit Union League has announced a new member, Jafari No-Interest Credit Union, which will serve members in Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Jafari No-Interest CU was officially chartered Feb. 16, 2016. It is the first credit union in the country this year and the first state-chartered credit union in Texas since 2008.

Headquartered in Houston, the credit union plans to open in April with more than 23,000 members. The credit union was formed to provide financial services for those of the Muslim faith that follow the Jafari School, community members and families of the Islamic Education Center of Houston, the Islamic Ahlul Bayt Association in Austin, or the Metroplex Organization of Muslims in North Texas. 

President/CEO Imran Dhanji said, “Going through the chartering process, we have seen firsthand that the cooperative spirit of the credit union movement is alive and well. Many credit unions have willingly offered their expertise and guidance to help us achieve this accomplishment, and we would like to express our heartfelt appreciation for their support. We are proud to be a part of the credit union movement and look forward to being an active member of the Cornerstone Credit Union League."

Organizing for the charter has been in the works for about four years. In 2012, the group contacted Cornerstone VP of Small Credit Union Development Linda Winkfein, who began providing direction and guidance to get the group started on their chartering course. Dhanji has expressed his deepest thanks for everything Winkfein did to enable the group to turn their dreams into reality.

When Winkfein passed away in February 2014, the new VP of small credit union development, Lorri Gaither, assumed responsibility for shepherding the group toward a completed charter. Gaither has since been actively working to ensure the credit union has access to the tools and resources it will need to grow and thrive in the marketplace.

The credit union received additional help from distinguished leaders in the credit union community. Mentor James Tuggle, Jr., CEO of Transtar Federal Credit Union, and his staff provided operational guidance.

"It's been a pleasure to help in any way we can," said Tuggle. "It’s always good to see us adding credit unions versus the alternative. This model still works, so we need to figure out how to keep adding them.

Dhanji and his board acknowledged their gratitude to additional credit union leaders who offered assistance along the way:  Cindy Hester, CEO of Union Fidelity FCU; George Bishop, CEO of St. Luke’s Community FCU; Lynda Milton, CEO of Team Financial FCU; and Randy Martinez, CEO of Promise CU.

Dhanji also expressed his appreciation for the Texas Credit Union Department and, in particular, Commissioner Harold E Feeney.

Commissioner Feeney said, “Chartering credit unions that provide consumers with access to affordable services is an extremely satisfying part of my job. We are very pleased to welcome this new organization as a Texas state-chartered credit union and commend the board and management of Jafari No-Interest CU for their hard work, dedication, and resolve.”

Dhanji also wanted to thank NCUA analyst Nancy Sgarbossa, from the Office of Consumer Protection, "for her guidance and patience through this long process." Sgarbossa was assigned to work with this charter on issuing its share insurance.

“The Cornerstone Credit Union League would like to extend its sincere congratulations to the leadership team of Jafari No-Interest Credit Union on the chartering of their credit union," said Cornerstone SVP Credit Union Relations Mike Delker. "Their perseverance and dedication throughout the chartering process is evidence of their desire and ability to provide financial products and services designed to meet the unique needs of their membership. Cornerstone looks forward to providing them with the assistance and service they will need to be successful in their growth."