More Than a Loan: Credit Union Inspires Hope

The recession knocked the Lopez family down – but their credit union gave them a leg up.

Things have changed a lot for the Lopez family of Happy Valley, Oregon.   It’s all good.

Chapter One begins in the depths of the Great Recession. Alex Lopez had left his job to jumpstart his own business when Delia Lopez found herself out of work. Like many American families, they had tough decisions to make and a long road ahead.

Alex & Delia Lopez

Today, they are all the way back, and beyond. They have their own determination to thank for it, but they’d be first to tell you, their credit union helped through their incredible journey.

Things began to turn the corner when they joined Point West Credit Union in Portland.

“We walked in there and they made us feel like real people, not just like a number,” recalls Alex. “You walk out of there with hope.”

Eventually Delia found her way back to work, and Alex moved forward with opening his cleaning business. Then a painting business that is thriving now.

“We’re not done,” says Alex with a wink. “But we will get there at some point.”

“We’ve grown so much from where we first started,” said Delia.  “I mean, we had a couple of vacuum cleaners, a bucket and some brooms, and now we have a painting business. Alex has employees of his own and he’s helping them make a living.”

Since joining Point West Credit Union in 2011, the family has come to appreciate being part of a local credit union.  They’ve saved at least $600 in basic fees, and business loans have helped Alex’s cleaning and painting operations to grow.

The key difference between credit unions and other financial institutions is credit unions’ not-for-profit, cooperative structure. Credit unions are owned by the members who use their services. Unlike for-profit financial institutions that must pay Wall St. stockholders, cooperative credit unions reinvest right back to their member-owners on Main St. For the Lopez family and 6 million other Northwest credit union members, that means lower fees and better interest rates on loans and savings accounts.

“The Lopez’s are an incredible family,” said Amy Nelson, Point West’s CEO. “They have done so much to empower their own financial future. We’re excited to continue with them and support their journey.”

“With help from Point West, we’ve been able to reach our goals,” noted Alex. “They really put us in a place where we’re happy now.”

Find your happy place.  Join 6 million Northwest consumers and join a credit union. Nearly everyone is eligible for membership. Visit www.asmarterchoice.org.