Credit unions exist to serve the needs of their community of members who collectively own, oversee and guide the business. As such, many credit unions--since their very beginning--have proactively sought ways to evolve with, and better serve, their members’ changing financial needs.
Filene kicked-off work in the Reaching Minority Households incubator in early 2016 and invited credit unions interested in advancing access to financial services for minority groups and other financially vulnerable populations to test one of five programs with us. Since then, our testing ranks have grown to 35 credit unions across the U.S. and Canada.
We encourage everyone in the industry to follow along on our journey and keep up to date on results and key findings as we test and learn alongside these trailblazer credit unions.
Credit unions are there for their communities when others are not
It is with that mission and principle at heart that 13 credit unions are participating in our ITIN Lending Program.
This program offers a variety of consumer lending products, including credit cards, personal loans, and vehicle loans, to non-citizens with the same rates as traditional consumer lending products. And, there is a big need for these services.
There are 42 million immigrants in the U.S., including foreign born citizens, refugees, lawful permanent residents, and undocumented immigrants; all coming from nearly every country in the world.
Being foreign born is what technically defines this group, but there are other designations that make these individuals and families a part of who we are as a country. They can also be defined as parents, students, teachers, laborers, U.S. soldiers, and civic leaders. They can be defined as invaluable members of our society, woven into the fabric of our neighborhoods, our communities, and our nation. They are our neighbors and credit unions are refusing to leave them without access to fairly-priced and non-predatory financial products and services as they pursue their own American Dream.
A snapshot of preliminary results: Non-Citizen Lending
Filene will continue to share outcomes in the ITIN Lending program as well as provide data on the other four programs in the Reaching Minority Households Incubator as it becomes available over the coming year.
Participating Credit Unions:
- Alliance Catholic Credit Union
- Cherokee County Federal Credit Union
- El Paso Area Teachers Federal Credit Union
- Illiana Financial Credit Union
- Kern Federal Credit Union
- Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
- Manatee Community Federal Credit Union
- Members Credit Union
- Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union
- North Side Community Federal Credit Union
- Point West Credit Union
- Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union
- Wakota Federal Credit Union
Total loans issued through
December 31, 2016:
Total value of loans issued through
December 31, 2016:
Many of the participating credit unions have only just begun to test this program among their member base, yet for many, early results seem promising.
A credit union tester shared her experience and a note of encouragement she received from one of the credit union’s long-time members:
"One of my concerns has been putting the info out to the full membership but I did that for the first time this week in our e-newsletter, which has been read by about ¼ of our membership. I actually got an email response from one of our long-time members (probably 40 years!) saying, 'We saw on the Credit Union's news that we are participating in the non-citizen lending project. That's wonderful, and so necessary, especially in today's political climate. We're happy to be a part of it as members of the MCU'."
- Kathy Chartier, CEO, Members Credit Union.
The numbers clearly show that many credit union members need these types of financial products and the credit union community supports their availability.
Stand up to serve, get involved
If you and your credit union would like to stay in the loop with early findings of this initiative as we continue to test, or if you are interested in testing a future program, please let us know via this form and we will get in touch with you.
Thank you so much for serving the needs of your communities; because we are all part of a broader national community and we are all part of the credit union movement!