From left: Chris Fitzgerald, Rio Grande CU president/CEO; Lucy Sedillo, Rio Grande board chair; U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.); and Pablo DeFilippi, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions vice president of membership and business development. (Cornerstone Credit Union League Photo)

1st 2 CUs in N.M. receive Juntos Avanzamos designation

December 17, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (12/17/15)--Rio Grande CU, Albuquerque, and Guadalupe CU, Santa Fe, are the first two credit unions in New Mexico to raise Juntos Avanzamos flags, a symbol and a designation that signals that the organizations have made serving the Hispanic community a top priority.

Launched in 2005 for credit unions in Texas, credit unions nationwide can now apply for and receive the designation thanks to a partnership between the Cornerstone Credit Union League and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.


Click image to enlarge. From left, Jon Gorman, senior vice president of communications and outreach, Cornerstone Credit Union League; Pablo DeFilippi, vice president of membership and business development, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions; Winona Nava, president/CEO, Guadalupe CU; and Paul Stull, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of New Mexico. (Credit Union Association of New Mexico Photo)

The designation recognizes credit unions that have dedicated themselves to serving Hispanics--particularly the underserved--increasing members’ financial literacy, and providing products and services that provide a better alternative to payday lenders (Leaguer Dec. 16).

“This award is not so much recognition of one particular Rio Grande effort,” said Chris Fitzgerald, Rio Grande president/CEO. “It’s recognition of our history of service to the local community.”

Fitzgerald told Albuquerque Business First that the recognition will allow the credit union to build out its financial literacy programs at the local level to serve more underserved communities.

It also will “continue to promote our brand and reach consumers that are unbanked,” he told Albuquerque Business First (Dec. 15). “Everyone should have the right to participate in the banking process.”

Representatives from both Cornerstone and the federation attended a ceremony to present the designation to Rio Grande this week. U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) was also on hand.

“The type of work that Rio Grande CU does here helps create a generation of financial security,” Lujan Grisham said (Leaguer).  

Guadalupe CU also held a ceremony this week, during which President/CEO Winona Nava spoke about the work Guadalupe has done to serve local Hispanics.

Guadalupe “has been focused on financial inclusion for the Hispanic community for many years,” Nava said. “Flying the Juntos Avanzamos flag is a tangible way to show that we provide asset-building opportunities and access to affordable and responsible financial products and services to everyone who needs them.”

More than 20% of Hispanics in New Mexico are underbanked, with an estimated 18% considered completely unbanked, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.  

More than 40 credit unions across Arkansas, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Washington State have received the Juntos Avanzamos designation.