COVID-19 responses through ‘a diversity, equity and inclusion lens’

May 5, 2020

While everyone around the country is impacted in some way by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, people of color and low-income individuals are among the most vulnerable, CUNA Senior Policy Analyst Samira Salem says in a special Economic Update video.

“For credit unions, understanding the challenges our vulnerable members are facing is critical to ensuring we’re crafting responses that best serve their needs,” she said.

Specifically, Salem notes that women, Blacks, Hispanic/Latinx and young adults are at the highest risk of job losses from a COVID-19 related recession. COVID-19 related pay cuts are also hitting a higher percentage of low-income, Black and Hispanic/Latinx workers.

She recommends credit unions “use a diversity, equity and inclusion lens” when designing responses to COVID-19, including:

  • Knowing the pain points of the vulnerable populations;
  • Asking the right questions;
  • Use an equity lens in communications;
  • Consider unequal access to technology;
  • Practice inclusive leadership; and
  • Practice humility, virtual community and self-care.

Salem also highlighted several ways credit unions are stepping up to the plate to help members and staff, including:

  • 92% of credit unions surveyed are offering modifications to existing loans;
  • 76% of credit unions are offering new loan products;
  • 85% of credit unions are waiving and reducing fees;
  • 58% of credit unions are offering financial counseling, debt consolidation or other services;
  • Credit unions are also providing support to employees that includes childcare programs, paid leave for families who have or have a family member with COVID-19 and employee assistance programs.

The full video can be found below.