Chicago Credit Union Launches Gender Affirming Loan
North Side Community Credit Union was founded in 1974 by activist Angela Turley, who was appalled by redlining and a lack of financial services for women.
At the $9 million Chicago cooperative, activism remains a strong tradition – it led to the development of a gender affirming procedures loan package product, which is believed to be the first of its kind offered by a financial institution in the nation. It was created by the credit union’s accounting specialist, Lee Dewey, an LGBT activist.
“We were kind of founded on activism,” Sarah Marshall, president/CEO of North Side Community, said. “We have a board member who is pretty active in the LGBT community and has done a lot of legal work in the community. We also have another member on our supervisory committee who teaches gender studies so the (general affirming loan product) was not an issue.”
Over the years, the 3,255-member credit union has received numerous awards for its community advocacy, neighborhood development, community partnerships and volunteer services. It’s also been featured in local and national articles as an exemplary financial institution that offers short-term loans as an alternative to payday lenders.
For North Side Community, providing a specialty loan product, launched earlier this year, for transgender, queer or questioning people was another way to fulfill its mission of promoting the financial well-being of a diverse community through affordable financial services and an expansion of the availability of alternative financial resources.
The GAP LP, as they call it in the shop, can be used to finance expenses such as medical surgeries, procedures, voice lessons and a new wardrobe.
But Dewey, who is genderqueer, said the new loan package does more than just provide financing for a specific group of members who are transgender, genderqueer or gender fluid individuals.
“This is really about addressing the financial insecurity and the marginalization of queer and trans folks, especially as it relates to people of color, and people that are underbanked or unbankable,” he said. “So that’s really what I wanted to address – the financial insecurity that is seen in my community and that’s also seen in the communities that we serve here.”
To learn more about this new loan product, read the full story in the June 29, 2016 print edition of Credit Union Times.