TOLEDO, Ohio (3/7/14)--In his March 3 column, the Toledo Blade's Keith Burris praised upstart community development credit union Nueva Esperanza Community CU for making a difference in the local Hispanic community.
Nueva Esperanza, organized under the leadership of former Toledo alderman Adam Martinez, opened for business in 2011. "Now Nueva Esperanza has 450 members, a loan portfolio of about a half a million dollars, and $1.4 million in [assets]," Burris wrote.
Nueva Esperanza Community CU was also among 35 low-income credit unions to receive $21 million in funds through the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) in September (News Now Sept. 25)
"What does it do for people? A few car loans," Burris added. "Citizenship loans--so a person can go through the naturalization process. That costs $5,000 to $7,000. Mostly, this credit union makes very down-to-earth dreams come true. Like a man who started his own landscaping business with a loan of $5,000. Or a man who borrowed $4,000 to put a furnace in his home. He had been heating the place with space heaters and could not sleep at night because he feared for the safety of his children."
Sue Cuevas, a former bank branch manager, is Nuevas Esperanza Community CU's CEO. Cuevas, the daughter of a minister, told Burris she left her job at the bank to help people. "It's how she was raised," Burris wrote.
Burris compared the work that Nueva Esperanza Community CU does for local Hispanics to civil rights work. "It's about initiatives that can really change life for people of modest means," he wrote. "The new civil rights movement is economic and pragmatic."