Credit unions should embrace immigrants as members and not be dissuaded by negative political rhetoric associated with them, according to executives familiar with the demographic.

“If there were one thing I wish more credit unions knew about working with immigrants, it would be that doing so is not that scary or risky,” Winona Nava (pictured), president/CEO for the $137 million, 17,000-member Guadalupe Credit Union, said. “We serve immigrant members every day. We do so within regulations and without sharply higher losses from them than from any other members.”

NCUA data backed up her report. According to the agency, the Santa Fe, N.M.-based cooperative closed June 2015 with a net worth ratio of 10.64%, slightly below the peer average of 10.90%, but with a return on assets ratio of 1.22%, more than double the 0.57% reported by its peers.

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