Brett Thompson: Credit unions connect with community | Column
By Brett Thompson | guest column
A diverse, equitable and inclusive approach to serving our members and communities is embedded in the DNA of Wisconsin credit unions. Since our inception, we have been guided by the mission and statutes of the state to “provide an opportunity for members to improve their economic and social conditions”.
This focus has been critical over the past 15 months as the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent racial injustice have posed unprecedented challenges to the people and communities of Wisconsin.
Here are some recent examples of how Wisconsin credit unions have used their credo of “helping people” to create fair and inclusive communities across the state:
• As member-owned nonprofit co-ops, Wisconsin credit unions are uniquely equipped to serve all members. In 2020, the lowest average credit score provided on a credit union loan was 404, and 93% of Wisconsin credit unions gave a loan of $ 500 or less. Whether it’s helping a member escape predatory loans, rebuilding credit, overcoming an illness, saving for a house, or just being offered a second chance, credit unions are especially good. equipped to provide a lifeline when other financial institutions cannot or will not.
• In 2020, Wisconsin credit unions raised $ 6.7 million for local charities, community projects, and civic groups, many of which focused on addressing economic and racial disparities. This trend continues this year, with UW Credit Union’s recent announcement to invest $ 1.5 million to tackle racial inequalities in Madison and Milwaukee through a new fund launched in partnership with United Way of Dane. County and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.