Travis Credit Union testifies before California Senate banking commitee on New Era Tanda loan program

VACAVILLE, CA (November 18, 2013) — Representatives from Travis Credit Union recently testified before a California Senate banking committee about its new loan product geared towards helping the unbanked and underbanked Latino community access financial education and improve their credit.

Travis Credit Union’s Director of Corporate Communications Sherry Cordonnier and SVP and Chief Loan Officer Stacy Fifield were invited to testify before the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, which held an informational hearing on Thursday, Nov. 14, on various nonprofit and community based organizations with small dollar loan products.

Travis Credit Union has just finalized a small dollar lending pilot program, the New Era Tanda Loan Program. The pilot program debuted in mid-2012, in part through a grant received by the National Credit Union Foundation.  It was designed in partnership with Coopera, an Iowa-based firm focused on the emerging Hispanic market, to help Latino participants develop a 12-month shared savings goal and to take advantage of the credit union’s unique savings and loan offerings.

“We developed the program concept for this unique program centered on tandas (also known as cundinas, sans or quinelas),” Cordonnier explained. “Tandas—informal borrowing/lending circles—are common in immigrant cultures, especially Latin American immigrant cultures. The modernized tanda, developed by TCU, aimed at bridging a cultural custom with the credit union experience.  TCU partnered with the Yolo Family Resource Center to conduct the pilot program. The program used a grassroots and culturally relevant approach tailored to the local Latino community.”

The first class consisted of six people, each of whom was encouraged to attend monthly financial literacy courses, all offered in Spanish.  Participants contributed on a monthly basis to a shared savings account and also received a group share-secured loan to help save for a down-payment on a vehicle. After successfully completing the program, each qualified participant was eligible for a TCU credit-building credit card and/or auto loan.

“One of the goals of the program was to build Hispanic members’ credit and good financial habits through financial education,” Cordonnier testified.

Travis Credit Union found, via pre- and post-surveys, those who participated were more likely to use online banking, bill pay, checking accounts, ATM/ debit cards, credit cards, savings accounts and direct deposit than they were prior to the program. They were also more likely to balance a checkbook, cash checks, and use a personal budget, Cordonnier added.

“The pilot program was a success that will hopefully be replicated in the future at TCU and at other credit unions,” she said.

Headquartered in Vacaville, California, Travis Credit Union is a not-for-profit, cooperative financial institution serving those who live or work in Solano, Yolo, Sacramento, Placer, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Napa, Contra Costa, Alameda, Sonoma, Colusa, and Merced Counties. Currently, Travis Credit Union is the 11th largest credit union in California, with more than 178,000 members and over $2.1 billion in assets. As one of the leading financial institutions in Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo, Napa, and Merced Counties, Travis Credit Union’s strength lies in its faithful commitment to its members; its solid, secure history; and its long-standing track record of dedicated service.

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