Juntos Avanzamos, Together We Advance, is a national program for credit unions committed to and able to serve Hispanic consumers regardless of their immigration status. To qualify, credit unions must employ bilingual member-facing employees, partner with Hispanic community organizations, provide financial education and offer responsibly priced products for Spanish speakers. Point West Credit Union joined the Juntos Avanzamos network in August 2016. In the first six months of 2016, Point West booked $3.1 million in non-citizen loans, bringing its total non-citizen lending portfolio to $5.5 million. That is 640 loans averaging just under $8,600 per borrower.
Troy Stang, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, says of Point West’s success, “Most of those loans are cars. Cars that get people to work, take children to school, transport the groceries; …ultimately, these cars bring families independence. And the financial education our staff and community partners provide…that brings financial wellness. 67.5% of these 640 loans are borrowers who maintained or improved their credit score. Delinquency for these non-citizen loans in the last year is zero. ZERO. And the charge-off ratio for the last year is only 1.27%. In total, Point West’s Hispanic and Latino members make up 1 in 5 of our 9,300 members. They haven’t even scratched the surface of our potential to serve – yet, standing here today with all of you, we have reason to celebrate!”
Point West, headquartered in Portland, OR, accelerated its transformation into a community development credit union (CDCU) by receiving Low Income Designation in 2013, followed by a conversion to a community charter, and becoming CDFI certification in 2014. Among Point West’s product offerings are non-citizen lending, second-chance Fresh Start accounts, short-term loan options and microenterprise lending, distinguishing Point West as a market leader in the Portland Metro area for underbanked and credit-challenged community members and businesses.