Migrant workers find an ally in California
CU takes measures to protect this vulnerable population.
For Roxy Ostrem, the last straw was when the check-cashing truck pulled up to the edge of the Boskovich Farm in 2010, enticing migrant workers with quick cash, only to supply them with a raft of counterfeit bills.
That’s when Ostrem—the farm’s quality control manager, chair of the Ventura County Credit Union (VCCU) board of directors, and co-founder of the World Council of Credit Unions’ Global Women’s Leadership Network—decided it was high time to protect this largely unbanked population.
VCCU leapt into action with an aggressive outreach program spearheaded by CEO Joe Schroeder and Ostrem. It has made a giant impact in the agricultural hotbed, which relies heavily on migrant workers to churn out $2 billion of berries and other produce annually.
“We just said, ‘Enough is enough,’” explains Natalie Bradley, community development manager for the $660 million asset credit union in Ventura, Calif.
The credit union promises to break down more barriers in coming years after expanding in 2013 to serve five additional employer groups and a sizable population of indigenous workers from Mexico.continue reading »