Conversations about racial justice have taken place at many credit unions in recent days. At USC Credit Union in Los Angeles, Calif., those conversations led to initiatives for better serving the needs of members, employees, and the community of South Los Angeles.
But it also inspired an idea for making a difference beyond the $675 million credit union’s immediate footprint: the concept of a credit union that serves historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
“We challenged ourselves to look at how the credit union community could impact the lives of people of color,” says Gary Perez, president/CEO of USC Credit Union. “We came up with this notion of credit unions coming together to create something that would have more impact than anything we as individual cooperatives could do.”
Perez has championed the potential for an HBCU-focused credit union throughout the movement, garnering interest from members of the African American Credit Union Coalition, the California Credit Union League, and others. “The number of hands that went up—offering help in the form of capital, resources, and brain power—gave us the sense that we were on to something,” he says.
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