California League Helps Credit Unions Serve Hispanics
The California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues announced a new partnership with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions last week that will allow it to help cooperatives earn designations to serve the growing Hispanic market.
Originally launched in 2005 by the Texas Credit Union League as an immigrant outreach program, the Juntos Avanzamos designation was developed to enable credit unions to attract and serve Latino members.
The Juntos Avanzamos designation means cooperatives offer bilingual services and information, collaborate with organizations that support the Hispanic community, provide financial information specific to help Latino members, offer affordable products and services to meet the financial needs of Hispanics, and have a formal strategic plan for improving services for Hispanics.
The $632 million SCE Federal Credit Union in Irwindale, Calif. was first cooperative in the Golden State to receive the Juntos Avanzamos certification, according to the California league.
“Reaching out to immigrants is a good investment and the right thing to do – in fact, it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the legal thing to do,” SCEFCU COO George Poitou said. “Our branch in Boyle Heights here in Los Angeles is our most profitable location. We’re making all types of loans to [Latinos] to meet their needs. They become your most loyal members for life. More credit unions should explore getting involved in this.”
The $105 million Santa Cruz Community Credit Union in Santa Cruz, Calif., has also earned the designation, according to the California league.
Three additional credit unions – the $605 million Self-Help Federal Credit Union in Durham, N.C., which operates more than 20 branches in the Bay Area, Central Valley and Los Angeles; the $3.7 billion Kinecta Federal Credit Union in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and the $7.7 million Family Federal Credit Union in Wilmington, Calif. – are in the review stages, Pablo DeFilippi, NFCDCU’s vice president of membership and business development, said.
"We now have more than 40 credit unions in the country that are Juntos Avanzamos credit unions, which are mostly located in California, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Texas,” he said.
The Juntos Avanzamos designation became available to credit unions nationwide in September.