CHICAGO -- The Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority has incorporated its own credit union.
The "For Members Only," or FMO, credit union is the first Black-owned, women-led, sorority-based digital banking financial institution in the history of the United States.
The AKAs are one of America's oldest service organizations, founded by college-educated African American women with nearly half a million members worldwide.
"Everyone doesn't understand the impact we make financially, so you have to start doing things so folks know we know how to control our money," said Danette Anthony Reed, international president and CEO of AKA Sorority.
FMO's grand opening at the group's international headquarters in Chicago coincided with the 115-year-old sorority's leadership conference.
The FMO is chartered, regulated and insured by the National Credit Union Administration, and will offer primary savings, loans and other banking services during its first year of operations. It's open to AKA members, their immediate families, AKA staff and credit union employees.
"Every member will be an owner of the credit union," said Terri Bradford Eason, FMO federal credit union executive director.
The first-of-its-kind credit union is based in part on the sorority's six initiatives, which include building economic wealth. Plans for the credit union began a few years ago with the idea to create economic health and financial stability for women of color.
FMO board member Deardra Hayes-Whigham and her family are founding subscribers.
"We want to invest in what we own," she said.
The FMO credit union officially opened Wednesday.
"It's just awesome to know we'll have the opportunity to actually do something financial," said Monica Teal, an AKA sorority member who was in line to open her account.