Congressman Dan Newhouse Visits OFN Member Lower Valley Credit Union

Authored by Ray Morrow, LVCU Vice President of Marketing

On May 31, Lower Valley Credit Union (LVCU) was thrilled to sit down with Congressman Dan Newhouse (R-WA) to discuss our community development financial institution (CDFI) designation, stakeholder and grant opportunities, as well as community outreach efforts.

“Community development financial institutions provide critical resources to low-income and underserved areas,” said Rep. Newhouse. “I have been a member of Lower Valley Credit Union for over 20 years, but I enjoyed the opportunity to tour and meet with staff about how they utilize their CDFI funding to engage in our local schools, increase financial literacy, and help families invest and purchase homes. Central Washington is lucky to be home to CDFIs like Lower Valley Credit Union, which create jobs, finance small businesses, and develop housing and commercial space for these communities.”

Following an introduction and tour by LVCU branch manager Norma Suarez, our president/CEO Suzy Fonseca started the conversation with a discussion about CDFI certification and how LVCU leverages grant dollars to help families get access to capital and become financially secure.

She also provided an update on our Juntos Avanzamos designation (whose national expansion Inclusiv is leading), stating, “Lower Valley Credit Union was the first Juntos Avanzamos designated credit union in the Pacific Northwest. The Juntos Avanzamos designation is reserved for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic consumers. Currently we have 88 credit unions nationwide all working towards a common goal.“ 

Discussing our latest Credit Union National Association (CUNA) grant was Erika Aranda, our operations vice president. LVCU received a $600,000 capital infusion grant in the fall of 2018. She explained that the grant was awarded to increase the mobilization of local savings that will be used to meet the needs for affordable financing options, specifically auto and personal emergency loans.

Along with LVCU business development officer Eva Chaves, I discussed LVCU’s community outreach efforts and the impact we are making. Last year alone, LVCU was able to attend 76 events within the communities we serve, primarily focused on the underserved Hispanic population. This demographic is heavily driven by member-facing interactions so we focus on providing similar interaction with new technologies that we provide, such as our Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) in Prescott, Pasco, and Yakima.  We also strive to have a similar interaction when we participate in local community events. That interaction builds relationships that are priceless. 

With continued support from our staff, LVCU logged over 150 hours of volunteer time and 14 financial education workshops last year. These efforts totaled over 10 hours of in-classroom participation.

In addition to the community outreach segment, LVCU also discussed with Rep. Newhouse how we are committed to the citizenship programs in our area. Over the last five years, LVCU has participated in 18 events related to citizenship programs. We’ve hosted citizenship events at our corporate branch, participated at local events, and have provided financial education to assist our community partners who have citizenship programs within their respective organizations. We are currently working with One America, Neasta Casa, La Casa Hogar, and the Consulate of Mexico.

Learn more about LVCU on our website.

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