The $100 million Money One Federal Credit Union's Thomas Bowen said credit unions that don't consider their gay, lesbian and transgendered members are missing out on a huge opportunity.
Credit unions don't have to "put a feather boa on every employee and paint all the lines in the parking lot pink" to attract gay members, the operations project coordinator said. However, he said cooperatives should at least provide sensitivity training for employees and make sure "partner" is included on membership and loan applications.
His Largo, Md.-based credit union doesn't specifically market to the gay community, but Bowen said because gay marriage is legal in nearby Washington, D.C., it presents a great opportunity for his cooperative. Both The Washington Post and The Washington Times have been publishing gay wedding announcement for years, he said.
And even though Largo is more socially conservative than Washington, Bowen said he is openly gay at work and hasn't experienced discrimination from co-workers.
"Look, gays typically make good money, many of us don't have kids, we travel, we own homes, we use our credit cards. We are always among the first to buy new technology, and we like to buy nice things," he said. "I think we make great members, and if credit unions don't jump on this opportunity, a big bank will."