Entrepreneur Makes History, Opens First Ever Black-Owned Bank in Arkansas




Meet Arlo Washington, the founder and CEO of People Trust Community Federal Credit Union, an accredited, full-service credit union in North Little Rock, Arkansas that provides access to capital to low and moderate-income communities. It is the first and only Black-owned financial institution in the entire state of Arkansas.

In 2009, when the last payday lending storefront in Arkansas closed for business, Washington saw a lot of people coming to the barber college seeking loans. That's when he realized the need for financial services in the community.

He started by offering low-interest, small-dollar loans using $1,000 in funds that he set aside from the barber college's monthly profits. That eventually expanded into the People Trust Community Loan Fund, which is a not-for-profit community development financial institution.

Still, it was not enough to meet the growing banking needs of the community. It inspired him to start a credit union that allows loan fund customers to open savings accounts. Although it was not easy to establish a credit union, Washington pushed through and became just one of the 4 new credit unions chartered in the US in 2022.

People Trust Community Federal Credit Union aims to help many of those who were unable to open accounts at traditional banks. It will provide them with services such as checking and savings accounts, new and used auto loans, personal loans, credit cards, and more.