Community Development Block Grant
Success Stories

Providence, RI - Mayor Vincent A. Cianci, Jr.

Oasis Community Development Federal Credit Union

Four years in the making, the Oasis Community Development Federal Credit Union opened the doors of its permanent facility on December 10, 1998. A cornerstone of the Broad Street Renaissance Project, this neighborhood-based financial institution is the realization of a commitment to address the real economic development needs of Providence's South Side community, making true neighborhood-based investment and lending a reality.

In 1996, members of Oasis International approached Mayor Vincent Cianci with a request for CDBG assistance to finance the construction of a credit union and to search for a permanent site for it. The Mayor committed $300,000 to site acquisition and rehabilitation; he also committed the professional expertise and assistance of the City's Department of Planning and Development.

As potential sites were identified and evaluated, the Oasis board proceeded with the application for a federal charter that would insure all deposits up to a maximum of $100,000. When the Oasis charter was approved in August 1997 - the first new charter in Rhode Island in more than 20 years - a construction trailer was installed at the 600 Broad Street site selected for the new credit union, and construction was started.

600 Broad Street, a property that had been occupied by an abandoned service station, is in the middle of a three-mile stretch which has been the focus of a neighborhood design/development plan formulated by area residents. In support of its mission to alleviate blight, the Providence Redevelopment Authority acquired the property and managed the redevelopment as a "turnkey" project for Oasis. Encouragement received from neighborhood businesses, coupled with traffic calming and other infrastructure and aesthetic improvements linked to the project, established the Oasis credit union as the focal point of area revitalization.

Governed by a 15-member board of directors comprised of persons working or living in Elmwood, Washington Park, South Providence and the West End, Oasis is fulfilling its mission of bringing financial services to area residents whose access to such services had been limited to pawn shops, check cashing services and loan sharks. By providing checking and savings accounts and by making small loans, Oasis enables its members to develop sound credit and financial backgrounds. Pledged deposits of more than $500,000 already have been received.

Contact: Amintha Cinotti, Associate Director, Community Development, (401) 351-4300