The Latino Community Credit Union-A Timeless Example of Cooperative Action

The 2003 Herb Wegner award for outstanding organization is perhaps even more significant today than when granted almost two decades ago.

Here is co-MC Annaloro’s description of the special nature of this award which had been given only 14 times before.

In 2003, Latino credit union was three years old, held $11 million in assets and had just 8,000 members.  Even then the credit unions was know for “punching far beyond its weight class.”

As Chair Chuck Purvis stated in his opening remarks, it is an example of the movement coming together to “effectively serve the needs” of the Hispanic market.  And those needs were clear and unmistakable as documented by the introductory 10 minute video from that evening. Why a credit union for the Hispanic community:

Latino Credit Union Today

This is a powerful example of credit union’s ability to respond to some of the most vulnerable persons in our society.  Few could foresee what the long-term results of this initial organizing effort would be.

Today Latino Community Credit Union has $663 million in assets and continues it focus on lending with a loan-to-share ratio of over 100%.  It has a below peer operating expense ratio even though it manages 13 branches with 157 employees serving in excess of 101,000 members.

Every aspect of its performance is exceptional with recent annual growth in shares (24%)  and loans (28%) at the very top of the industry.  It reported net worth of 11.2% at June 30 even with this high level of balance sheet growth.

Latino’s Meaning for Today

When passion and commitment meet human need, the opportunity for success is great.  This is the circumstances in which credit unions were begun in 1909.  Inequalities and vulnerable populations have not disappeared from American society.   The continued growth of payday lenders and check cashiers is an ongoing example of persons living paycheck to paycheck

Latino also shows the power  of new startups.  Some today disparage the efforts to form new credit unions.  They point out their small size forgetting that every credit union that exists today started small. Some point out the capacity of existing credit unions to serve more-and yet many parts of the their current FOM’s remained unserved or underserved.

Succeeding from scratch is not an easy thing to do.  Latino maximized its chances of success by getting inspiration from those who had already achieved what they want to accomplish.

We will learn in tomorrow’s acceptance speech, how these people became mentors-”family”-helping along the way.  Mentors increase the chance of success because they will have already confronted many of the questions that determine whether or not a start up will succeed.

We will see these people stand on stage with the Chair of Latino Community as he reminds us of a message-especially relevant today-why America needs more credit unions.


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