Advertiser Disclosure

Latino Credit Unions: Why They Matter, Where to Find One

March 29, 2018
Banking, Banks & Credit Unions
latino credit unions

Latino-friendly credit unions aim to help people who have traditionally been underserved by the American banking system. This includes immigrants, especially from Latin America, who often avoid banks. But a bank account means having a safe place to keep cash and pay bills (regardless of your citizenship or immigration status).

» Skip ahead to the list of Latino credit unions

The percentage of unbanked Hispanic or Latino households in the U.S., at 16.2%, is more than double the national rate, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s most recent survey of unbanked households. And nearly 30% of Latino households are underbanked, meaning they have bank accounts but also use alternative financial providers such as check cashers, payday lenders or remittance transfer providers.

The reasons these households are underserved by banking institutions vary. About a third of the Latino population in the U.S. is foreign born, according to 2015 research by the Pew Research Center. And being from a different country can impact people’s views of banks in general. (Argentina, for example, has endured a history of banks not protecting customers’ money during economic crises.) Language barriers and a lack of traditional identification that banks accept, such as Social Security numbers, also play a role.

But credit unions, the nonprofit equivalent of banks, are known for focusing on local communities. Especially in the past decade, many have committed to helping this underserved community.

How Latino credit unions stand out

Nearly 80 credit unions belong to a nationwide program called Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance), which requires participating credit unions to provide affordable and accessible banking products to Latinos. The practices vary by credit union, but these are common:

  • Allowing applicants to provide foreign identification, such as a foreign passport and a matrícula consular, ID cards issued by Mexican and other governments for citizens who reside outside their home countries
  • Providing affordable banking services, such as money orders, check cashing, credit-building loans, second-chance checking or other products
  • Accepting loan applicants based on alternative credit histories such as records of rent or utility payments and letting identification be in the form of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers, given to foreign nationals who work in the U.S. and don’t have Social Security numbers
  • Having English and Spanish materials as well as bilingual staff
  • Having Latinos on a credit union’s board of directors and executive team
  • Offering financial education through classes and financial coaching (for building credit, saving, buying a home, starting a business or other topics)

“What we’re doing with Juntos Avanzamos,” says Pablo DeFilippi, is to ensure that participating credit unions “provide services that are relevant and transparent.” DeFilippi is senior vice president of membership and network engagement at the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, which is leading the national rollout of Juntos Avanzamos.

The Juntos Avanzamos designation is an easy way to spot Latino-friendly credit unions, but there are other ways. The North Carolina-based Latino Community Credit Union promotes a similar mission.

“Every time we talk with a member, we take the time to explain everything,” says Silvia Rincón, vice president of communications and brand management at Latino Community Credit Union. “We understand that people who come to this country don’t know how our financial institutions work.”

In addition, one of Latino Community Credit Union’s most notable products that’s available to all its members is the Dreamer Loan, which covers the full cost of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application.

Latino credit unions by state

Here are credit unions committed to helping their Latino communities.

Credit Union (click name to go to credit union's website)

Arizona

MariSol Federal Credit Union
Vantage West Credit Union

California

Community First Credit Union
Kern Federal Credit Union
Kinecta Federal Credit Union
Santa Cruz Community Credit Union
SCE Federal Credit Union
Self-Help Federal Credit Union
Travis Credit Union

Colorado

Fitzsimons Credit Union
Partner Colorado Credit Union

Connecticut

Members Credit Union
Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union

Florida

Jetstream Federal Credit Union
Manatee Community Federal Credit Union
Self-Help Federal Credit Union
Suncoast Credit Union

Illinois

Illiana Financial Credit Union
Self-Help Federal Credit Union

Iowa

Ascentra Credit Union
Community 1st Credit Union
Des Moines Metro Credit Union

Michigan

Community Promise Federal Credit Union

Missouri

Holy Rosary Credit Union

New Jersey

1st Bergen Federal Credit Union
North Jersey Federal Credit Union

New Mexico

Guadalupe Credit Union
Rio Grande Credit Union

New York

Brooklyn Cooperative
Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union
Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union
Neighborhood Trust Federal Credit Union

North Carolina

Latino Community Credit Union

Ohio

Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union
(no website yet, but call [419] 720-9530 if you live in or near Toledo)

Oklahoma

True Sky Credit Union
Tinker Federal Credit Union

Oregon

Point West Credit Union

Texas

Alliance Credit Union
Amarillo Community Credit Union
Beacon Federal Credit Union
Border Federal Credit Union
Caprock Federal Credit Union
Coastal Community Federal Credit Union
Community Resource Credit Union
DATCU Credit Union
EECU
First Central Credit Union
FirstLight Federal Credit Union
GECU
Generations Federal Credit Union
La Joya Area Federal Credit Union
Neighborhood Credit Union
North East Texas Credit Union
One Source Federal Credit Union
People's Trust Federal Credit Union
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU)
Resource One Credit Union
River City Federal Credit Union
Security First Credit Union
Security Service Federal Credit Union
Shared Resources Credit Union
Shell Federal Credit Union
Southwest 66 Credit Union
Space City Credit Union
Unity One Federal Credit Union
Velocity Credit Union

Utah

City Center Credit Union

Washington

Lower Valley Credit Union
Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union

Washington, D.C.

DC Credit Union
OAS Federal Credit Union

Wisconsin

Marine Credit Union
This list is primarily based on the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ directory of Juntos Avanzamos-designated credit unions. Did we leave your credit union off this list? Please let us know.