Credit unions pursue their social mission by reaching out to underserved communities

More Than 88 Million Americans Are In These Underbanked or Unbanked Categories

In keeping with the credit union movement’s commitment to help all people realize their financial dreams, many institutions are focusing on serving the “underbanked” and “unbanked” in communities throughout the United States.

According to a June 2013 FDIC-sponsored study, its third National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households, 24.8 million households (20.0% of all U.S. households) were underbanked. Additionally, 7.7% of households in the United States were considered “unbanked,” representing nearly 9.6 million households. According to a report by the accounting firm KPMG, this underserved market of underbanked and unbanked consumers represents more than 88 million individuals and nearly $1.3 trillion in wages.

One credit union committed to serving-the-underserved is Communidad Latina Federal Credit Union in Santa Ana, Calif. President/CEO Erick Orellana says his credit union of 2,400 members has opened its doors to immigrants who have been issued what is called an Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) by the IRS, which allows immigrants without green cards and Social Security Numbers to legally work and pay taxes.

While an ITIN is generally accepted by financial institutions if the cardholder wants to open a checking or savings account, it will most likely not be accepted for lending or for issuance of credit cards.

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