Northwest Credit Unions Deliver Impact in More Than One Language

It’s in the Clackamas FCU DNA to be foundational to the local economy in English—and Spanish.

Though the Northwest population has grown by 2.7 percent since 2014, membership in Oregon and Washington credit unions has jumped 13 percent during that same time period. And with many new residents likely not native English speakers, Northwest credit unions have stepped in to help them build financial strength.

An example of the cooperative “people helping people” tenet, credit unions like Clackamas Federal Credit Union have started to offer interactive budgeting courses in Spanish.

Kevin Moran teaches financial education to a group of Spanish-speaking members at Clackamas FCU.

“I enjoy doing it,” said Kevin Moran, a Business Development Specialist with the credit union. “We’re trying to instill this honesty and instill this relationship with them, being able to let them know that hey, just because you’re Latino doesn’t mean you can’t have an account with us. You’re a person. We treat everyone equal.”

Financial education is a major commitment at Clackamas FCU. President and CEO Mary Greco said the credit union has several multicultural employees who are able to converse, teach and translate written teaching resources—and she said, community organizations come to them to request their services.

“Education is the root of everything that helps people go forward in life, and we value education and certainly financial education helps people,” she said.

“On the human side, it really is in within our own mission statement and core values that we are people helping people,” said Kevin.

He is as comfortable in front of large classrooms as he is providing individual service to members. He told of providing financial counseling to a member who had been overpaying interest on his car loan from another financial institution. By refinancing his loan with Clackamas FCU, Kevin said, the member will save $300 a month.

“He was really excited about it,” said Kevin. “Being able to realize that he was going to be saving over $3,000 a year alone, it was very impactful.”

“I love what credit unions do in communities,” said Greco. “I think they make a big difference. There is nothing more important to us than helping a member find a solution.”

CUs deliver for members in other ways, too

Credit unions deliver for members and local economies, alike, such as in providing family-wage jobs. The Northwest’s 17,000 credit union employees earned total compensation of $1.24 billion in 2016. Every credit union job supported two additional jobs in the economy, meaning credit unions supported more than 51,000 jobs in total.

Those employees helped to collectively drive $528 million in direct financial benefit to their member-owners in 2016, too. That’s an average of $95, right back into the pocket of every credit union member in the Northwest, through lower fees, lower loan interest rates, and better return on their savings accounts.

Become a member. Find out why 6 million Northwest consumers already belong to a not-for-profit, cooperative credit union. Visit www.asmarterchoice.org.