Since going national 16 months ago, 32 credit unions across 15states have earned the Juntos Avanzamos designation, bringing the total number to 64credit unions that have secured the designation to serve the fastgrowing Hispanic population.

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By the end of 2017, it is expected that 100 credit unions in 20states will have this designation, according to the NationalFederation of Community Development Credit Union in New York, whichadministers the program. The designation, which translates to“together, we advance,” means credit unions have the policies,procedures, products and services to meet the financial needs ofthe Hispanic population.

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Initially developed by the Cornerstone Credit Union League, the Juntos Avanzamosdesignation was rolled out nationally in September 2015 by theFederation in collaboration with Coopera, a Hispanic marketsolutions company for credit unions in Des Moines, Iowa.

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Pablo DeFilippi, senior vice president of membership and networkengagement at the Federation, said Juntos Avanzamos has grownquickly over the last 16 months because of the growing recognitionof the importance that the Hispanic community represents for thegrowth and relevance of the credit union industry.

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For example, during the fourth quarter of last year, the $325million Partner Colorado Credit Union in Arvada, Colo., and the$180 million Fitzsimons Credit Union in Aurora became the firstcredit unions in Colorado to obtain the Juntos Avanzamosdesignation, according to the Federation.

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Fitzsimons Credit Union re-focused its efforts on the Hispaniccommunity in 2011 by educating staff on Hispanic culture andadjusting products and services to meet the segment's needs. Thecredit union offers accounts for members with alternative forms ofID, loans for those with ITINs, credit-building loans for memberswith no or low credit, financial literacy in Spanish and zeropercent interest loan product for citizenship expenses.

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Aurora's population is 28% Hispanic or Latino, according toFitzsimons CU President/CEO Robert Fryberger “Fitzsimons CreditUnion has supported the economic and cultural diversity of theAurora community for more than 60 years, and serving its largestminority group fits the credit union's mission and vision,”Fitzsimons said. “Being recognized for our work in the Hispaniccommunity and receiving the designation is a true honor.”

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Melissa Sierra, senior business development director for PartnerColorado, said the designation affords Partner Colorado theopportunity to continue to build trust in the Hispanic communityand gain support from new partnerships.

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DeFilippi noted to support the expansion of the Juntos Avanzamosdesignation, the Federation is working with a number of statecredit union leagues/associations including the Cornerstone league,the California Credit Union League, the Credit Union Association ofNew Mexico, Northwest Credit Union Association, the Mountain WestCredit Union Association and the Iowa Credit Union League.

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“In addition to other leaders in the industry such as Coopera and the Network of Latino Credit Unionsand Professionals, this coalition is actively promoting financialinclusion for Latinos and identifying credit unions committed toserving this demographic,” he said. “Applications for certificationare received on an ongoing basis and reviewed by a selectioncommittee comprised by credit unions with a recognized track recordin this space.”

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