Thomas b Patterson piedmont credit union

Thomas b Patterson piedmont credit union

All the information you require regarding the history of Thomas B. Patterson Piedmont Credit Union.

How The Thomas B. Patterson Piedmont Credit Union Started

In 1918, Thomas Patterson was a farmer who resided and worked in the small community of Landis in Rowan County, North Carolina.

Just 53 years after slavery was abolished, this time period was exceptionally difficult for African Americans living in the United States, particularly in the South.


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African Americans had to work together to develop a way to borrow money for their businesses after enslavement because they were practically incapable of doing so. Jim Crow laws made it difficult for black people to obtain loans from traditional banks, which made it even harder for them to make ends meet.

A white man was required by law to vouch for a black person’s excellent moral character before they could apply for a loan.

Farmers at the time embraced the crop-lien approach widely. Farmers may use the next crop’s produce as collateral to get credit to pay for food, fertilizer, and other necessities. The interest rates associated with the crop-lien system were too high for the struggling farmers to bear. Whether the crops were profitable or not, the debts had to be repaid.

Patterson understood he had to act in order to keep African American farmers in Rowan County from having to live in debt forever.

The Piedmont Credit Union was the first credit union founded by African-Americans in North Carolina in the United States, and it was founded on April 19, 1918 by Thomas B. Patterson of Landis (Rowan County) with the help of 22 African-American farmers and $126 in capital.

Piedmont Patterson’s contributions

  • As a founding member of the first African American credit union in the US, Patterson significantly influenced the credit union movement. His efforts had a significant impact on African American farmers’ access to loans, which was an important development in the ongoing struggle for racial equality.
  • To save money and build wealth as a group, the Piedmont Credit Union bought food, fertilizer, and other supplies jointly. For loans to farmers, the interest rate was set at 6%.
  • At a period when racial laws barred African-Americans from voting in elections, the credit union allowed members the opportunity to run for office and select their own directors.
  • Piedmont Credit Union’s approach was a resounding success. At the close of 1919, Piedmont had 82 members and $1,347.83 in its coffers. It was made public that Piedmont was growing. By 1920, there were 13 more African American credit unions operating in the state.

The creation of these credit unions was a critical turning point for the African American farming families in the region. Through the cooperative idea, they were able to get fair loans while avoiding the dishonest methods of the crop-lien system.

The African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC), which has its headquarters in St. Louis, still exists despite Piedmont CU’s collapse. More than 150 credit unions nationally now get services from the AACUC, which was founded in 1999.

According to Patterson, a man’s standing in the community is based on his ability to conserve money rather than his ability to acquire it. The greatest obstacle for a farmer, he added, is being unable to raise money. However, financial support was offered by his credit union.

Thomas was a pioneer and a leader who helped the credit union industry achieve racial equity.

Leading the Charge for Change

In order to prevent African American farmers in Rowan County from living in debt for the rest of their lives, Patterson felt he had to take action.

The nation’s first African American credit union was established in April 1918 when Patterson and 22 other individuals invested $126 in Piedmont Credit Union. In order to conserve money and assemble riches as a group, Piedmont members “cooperatively purchased food, fertilizer, and other requirements.” The terms of loans for farmers had a set 6% interest rate.

The strategy used by Piedmont Credit Union was a complete success. By the end of 1919, Piedmont had 82 members and a total of $1,347.83. The expansion of Piedmont became known. 13 further African American credit unions were established in the state by 1920.

For the African American agricultural families in the area, the establishment of these credit unions marked a significant turning point. They were able to obtain reasonable loans through the cooperative concept while avoiding the unscrupulous practices of the crop-lien system.

Thomas b Patterson piedmont credit union

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