Calif. roundtable address CU fin. services for immigrants

January 21, 2015

LOS ANGELES (1/22/15)--The implications--and potential--for Southern California credit unions in light of President Barack Obama's executive order on immigration was the focus of a recent National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions roundtable in Los Angeles.

"If credit unions want to serve immigrants, you have to be engaged," Los Angeles City Councilman Gilbert Cedillo tells the Financial Inclusion for Immigrant Consumers roundtable in Los Angeles. (California Credit Union League Photo)

The Jan. 16 meeting--Financial Inclusion for Immigrant Consumers--included credit unions from the greater Los Angeles-Orange County region, industry experts, nonprofit leaders and representatives from the United States and Mexico government (In the News Jan. 20). Los Angeles-based USC CU, with $390 million in assets, hosted the event.

Credit unions discussed how the executive order affects current relationships with immigrant members and those who are looking to enter the financial mainstream.

"If credit unions want to serve immigrants, you have to be engaged," said keynote speaker Gilbert Cedillo. "You have to break through and have a relationship with them, speak their language and build trust." Cedillo represents Los Angeles City Council's 1st District.

"If you build trust with that one individual, you build trust with their entire family and friends," said Leticia Mata, assistant vice president of community education, Orange County's CU, Santa Ana, with $1.1 billion in assets.

Attendees also addressed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans polices. Several shared their experiences with credit-builder loans, Individual Taxpayer Identification Number loans, small-dollar loans, remittances and products related to citizenship and residency expenses.

Federation President/CEO Cathie Mahon said that for immigrants who feel comfortable opening their first account at a credit union, it will be a "fundamental moment."

"This is a huge opportunity for a large group of people who didn't believe they could enter the financial mainstream before," Mahon said. "This will be life-changing."

The federation is hosting a similar roundtable Feb. 12 in New York.

CUNA Hispanic Resource Center