The St. Paul, Minn.-based Northwest Area Foundation will fund a pilot project that will pair two community development credit unions with community immigrant organizations to introduce credit union products and services to immigrants, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions announced Thursday.
The Federation and an organization called Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees will administer the pair of $37,500 grants. One will go the Sunnyside, Wash.-based Lower Valley Credit Union which is paired with the Seattle-based organization OneAmerica. The other will go to the Bettendorf, Iowa-based Ascentra Credit Union, which is partnered with the Muscatine, Iowa-based Diversity Service Center of Iowa.
Alvaro Macias, community development manager for Ascentra Credit Union explained the credit union’s program in the video above.
The pilot’s goal is to test ways that credit unions can partner with community organization to make their products and services available beyond their branches and more familiar marketing channels, according to Clarissa Ritter, the Federation’s director of marketing and communications.
“The analogy we like to use is that of a trusted friend,” Ritter explained. “The community organizations are already trusted in the immigrant community. This pilot will test and demonstrate how these community organizations could introduce immigrants, who might not otherwise approach them, to these credit unions. We hope these approaches, once developed, can be replicated by other credit unions in other markets.”
The Federation and GCIR will jointly publish a white paper and set of best practices drawn from the pilot projects next year, the Federation said.