Kathy Chartier runs a small credit union in one of the nation’s richest counties.

The wealth is concentrated, leaving low-paid service workers struggling to make ends meet because housing costs are so high. And in that space, Members Credit Union ($28.7 million in assets, 3,016 members) of Cos Cob, Conn., has found a mission, serving low- to middle-income households, many of them undocumented immigrants.

Members CU was chosen to receive this year’s Trailblazer Award for Outstanding Service to the Underserved. Its eight full-time and two part-time employees are dedicated to trying to help members overcome some of the economic challenges by focusing on affordable used auto loans and small-balance, unsecured loans.

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Jim DuPlessis

A journalist for decades.

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