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DURHAM, N.C.- The Latino Community Credit Union and the Consulate of Mexico have teamed up with the North Carolina Catholic Dioceses, the North Carolina Credit Union League, the Episcopal Farm Workers Ministry, the NC Banking Commissioner and community groups to bring financial services to unbanked Latinos at fiestas throughout the state during Hispanic Heritage Month in September. The Gran Caravana del Ahorro Latino – Unete a tu Familia (“Grand Caravan for Family Savings”) offers Latinos a free membership to the credit union and the opportunity to obtain an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). “The Gran Caravan is the Cooperativa’s mobile branch campaign,” said LCCU Chairman John Herrera. “It is our way of bringing critical financial services for our people – savings accounts and tax I.D. numbers – directly to our community. With one stop at our booth at these fiestas, Latino families can easily take the first step on the road to economic prosperity and family stability.” According to N.C. Credit Banking Commissioner Joe Smith Latinos contribute millions of dollars to the state’s economy every year. The Cooperativa is authorized to process and file W-7 forms for members to get an ITIN number from the Internal Revenue Service. “In the U.S., the ITIN is the way unbanked Latinos can enter the American economic system,” said Herrera. “This lets hard working people keep more of their own money, save for their children’s education, buy a house, and improve their lives. Membership at the Cooperativa is a hand up and not a hand out.” According to Herrera, LCCU is the fastest growing credit union in the country, with more than 24,000 members and $17 million in assets. It is staffed by bilingual, multicultural employees and has become a way to build wealth in the rapidly growing Latino community and allow it to integrate into the financial system and communities.

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