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‘JUNTOS AVANZAMOS’ ADVANCES FORWARD
Kinecta FCU Becomes 6th in CA
Kinecta FCU and its affiliate, NIX Neighborhood Lending, were recently recognized by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the California Credit Union League with the “Juntos Avanzamos” (Together We Advance) certification—a branding initiative helping credit unions become the preferred financial resource for local organizations serving underserved Hispanic immigrants.
Dignitaries and community leaders attended the presentation on May 26, including representatives from the Los Angeles mayor’s office, Mexican Consulate, Latino Chamber of Commerce, and the office of California Sen. Holly Mitchell (D- Culver City).
Kinecta is the largest “Juntos Avanzamos”-designated credit union in California, and the 50th in the nation to be evaluated for the brand. It is part of a growing group of California credit unions that embraced the program when it was launched in the state this past November (others include Family FCU, Santa Cruz Community CU, SCE FCU, Self Help FCU, and Travis CU). The statewide effort in collaboration with the League is part of a national expansion by the Federation.
“We want this designation to be recognized by Hispanic consumers as a symbol of trust, and a way for people to feel reassured that credit unions are welcoming and friendly to serving their needs,” said Larry Palochik, senior vice president of member solutions for the League. “We want Hispanic consumers to know they will have access to a full array of affordable products and services, and that we can communicate in their language.”
Keith Sultemeier, CEO of Kinecta FCU, acknowledged the importance of receiving the designation, which enforces the credit union’s commitment to bringing financial inclusion to Los Angeles. He also recognized Kinecta’s board of directors for their drive to serve the Hispanic community, as well as Luis Peralta, president of NIX Neighborhood Lending.
Peralta said that as NIX approaches its 50-year anniversary, the subsidiary’s leaders are honored to be recognized for opening up the doors of opportunity to low and moderate-income residents. “This accreditation is an important acknowledgement of the efforts NIX and Kinecta have put in place to expand access for marginalized minorities, and to help build credit for consumers who don’t fit the traditional borrower model,” he added.
To qualify for a “Juntos Avanzamos” designation, credit unions must demonstrate they have flexible loan underwriting and Customer Identification Program policies, offer affordable credit, savings and transaction services, and make their products, services and financial education accessible to Spanish-speakers. The program was created in 2005 by the Cornerstone Credit Union League and opened nationally to all credit unions in September 2015. Other “Juntos Avanzamos” credit unions are located in Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and Washington, D.C.
“We salute Kinecta’s leadership, vision, and commitment to financial inclusion for underserved communities throughout Los Angeles,” said Pablo DeFilippi, senior vice president of membership and business development for the Federation. “Juntos Avanzamos is a bridge to connect consumers with credit unions committed to financial inclusion. Without credit unions such as Kinecta and its affiliate, NIX, the American dream will always be just that—a dream. We can help make that into a reality, and Kinecta is doing that.”
The Federation envisions “Juntos Avanzamos” becoming a platform to connect the credit union industry with a growing number of national partners working in this space, including Catholic Charities, the network of Mexican Consulates, the National Council of La Raza, and many others. “Juntos Avanzamos” is also supported by the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, Iowa Credit Union League, Mountain West Credit Union Association, and Northwest Credit Union Association, as well as industry partners Coopera and the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals.