A diverse, equitable and inclusive approach to serving our members and communities is built into the DNA of Wisconsin’s credit unions. From our very inception, we have been mission- and state statute-driven to “provide an opportunity for members to improve their economic and social conditions.”
This focus has been essential over the past 15 months as the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing racial injustice have posed unprecedented challenges for people and communities across Wisconsin.
Here are some recent examples of how Wisconsin’s credit unions have leaned into their credo of “people helping people” to create just and inclusive communities across the state:
• As not-for-profit, member-owned cooperatives, Wisconsin’s credit unions are uniquely equipped to serve all members. In 2020, the average lowest credit score provided a credit union loan was 404, and 93% of Wisconsin’s credit unions granted a loan of $500 or less. Whether it’s helping a member escape predatory lending, rebuild credit, weather an illness, save for a home or simply be given a second chance, credit unions are uniquely equipped to provide a lifeline when other financial institutions can’t or won’t.
• In 2020, Wisconsin’s credit unions raised $6.7 million for local charities, community projects and civic groups, many of which were focused on addressing economic and racial disparities. This trend continues into this year, with UW Credit Union’s recent announcement to invest $1.5 million to address racial inequities in Madison and Milwaukee through a new fund launched in partnership with United Way of Dane County and United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.
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