Members Credit Union was recognized yesterday as the first ‘Juntos Avanzamos’ credit union in Connecticut
WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA (August 4, 2017) — Members Credit Union (MCU) is the first designated Juntos Avanzamos – “Together We Advance” – credit union in Connecticut. The designation, reserved for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic consumers, was marked by a Proclamation Ceremony yesterday afternoon in Cos Cob.
“With our roots as a teacher’s credit union serving school employees, we have always had Hispanic members and served them well,” said Kathy Chartier, president and CEO of MCU. “Since becoming a community credit union in 2001, we’ve seen our Hispanic membership grow considerably. As a result, we made a commitment to strengthen our efforts to meet the needs of this community. We earned this designation because we offer bilingual and bicultural staff members, a Spanish-language website and forms, special products, counseling to improve immigrants’ financial position, and engagement with social-service agencies in Greenwich and Stamford. All of our full-time staff have become certified financial counselors and celebrate our diversity.”
The Juntos Avanzamos designation was developed by the Cornerstone Credit Union League for credit unions serving Hispanic consumers in Texas. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is leading a national expansion of the program in partnership with a growing number of state leagues and associations across the country, including the Credit Union League of Connecticut. There are now more than 70 Juntos Avanzamos credit unions nationwide.
MCU’s focus on financial inclusion among the lower-income and underserved is desperately needed in a state that has the largest income gap between the top 1 percent and the other 99 percent. Connecticut’s top 1 percent each earned an average of 2.7 million in 2015, compared to an average of $52,000 for the rest of all taxpayers – a ratio of about 51:1. MCU is in the epicenter of this huge economic divide. To alleviate these economic disparities, the credit union plans to leverage its Juntos Avanzamos designation and Hispanic-friendly focus on affordable used-auto loans and small-balance credit builder unsecured loans to help its community close this economic wealth gap.
“As a not for profit financial cooperative, we believe it is our mission and responsibility to give our members the education and tools they need to improve their financial lives. We live by our tagline of “Making Lives Better.” This special designation will communicate our commitment to providing non-predatory financial services and loans to our Hispanic community,” Chartier concluded.
Connecticut Department of Banking Commissioner Jorge L. Perez, US Congressman Jim Himes and Credit Union League of Connecticut Director of Community Impact David Hinchey each expressed strong support for MCU’s outreach, service, and focus on financial inclusion for lower-income, Hispanic immigrants.
In addition to Chartier, Perez, Himes and Hinchey, the following representatives spoke at the Proclamation Ceremony: Cathie Mahon, President/CEO, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; Scott Butterfield, Principal, Your Credit Union Partner; Brian Wood, Chairman of the Board, MCU; and Vanessa Kuduk, Loan Officer and Hispanic Outreach Officer, MCU.
About Members Credit Union
Members Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution serving 48,000 members with affordable checking accounts, savings accounts, loans, and electronic banking services. Currently, they have 15 branches throughout North Carolina and are headquartered in Winston-Salem. www.memcu.com.