Peninsula Credit Union Receives $2 Million for Financial Education and Low Income Outreach

Peninsula Credit Union has been notified that they have been awarded a grant from the United States Treasury’s CDFI Fund in the sum of $2 million, to help serve the underserved in their areas of membership. They are one of only twenty-one credit unions awarded nationally in this grant round.

The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund was established to promote economic revitalization in low-income communities. Its purpose is to use federal resources to invest in CDFIs and to build their capacity to serve low-income people and communities that lack access to affordable financial products and services. The grant is the result of a substantial application process, which Peninsula started in 2013.

Jim Morrell, President/CEO of Peninsula, was a driving force behind the application and award. “By helping to bring affordable loans to families in need, we hope to help revitalize the local economy at the same time,” said Morrell.

This grant comes at critical time in the communities Peninsula serves. High unemployment, plant closures, and a growing sense of financial insecurity have taken a toll on parts of Mason, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Clallam, and Kitsap Counties.

The grant will enable the credit union to provide affordable loans to families in need, which, Peninsula says, will help revitalize the local economy. Additionally, the credit union will use grant funds to increase their work in financial education and outreach to those who may not otherwise have access to those services. In the next five years they plan to provide an additional $42 million in loans to people who may not otherwise be able to borrow at reasonable interest rates, or at all.

“Jim has been a visionary in the credit union industry since his time at the Filene Research Institute,” said Stacey Augustine, CEO/Managing Partner of CU Strategic Planning. “His leadership at Peninsula Credit Union is making it one of the most visionary credit unions in the Northwest.”

Peninsula is the only CDFI located in the communities served by the credit union, and the team says it has taken on the responsibility to help people improve their financial lives at all levels. Previously, the credit union introduced innovative products like “Borrow and Save,” a way for members to get out of the check cashing cycle, and “Save to Win,” a prize-linked savings account, demonstrating Peninsula’s commitment to meeting their member’s needs.

With the additional funding, Peninsula says they are committed to continue their mission: “by listening to people, serving their financial needs with affordable financial services, and educating to create a personal development plan, we demonstrate our care to enrich their lives and help to achieve financial stability.”

“This grant will help increase opportunities on the Peninsula,” said Congressman Derek Kilmer. “Now workers and families will have the chance to obtain a quality, affordable loan that can help them get a leg up. At the same time it will give folks a chance to learn about the variety of financial tools they have access to at an institution like Peninsula Credit Union. By expanding the ability for Peninsula families to do everything from saving for what life can throw their way to opening a storefront, this award for Peninsula Credit Union provides them with another tool to keep our local economy moving for everyone.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org. 

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