A leading ethos of the credit union movement is to provide equitable financial services to groups that are historically underserved. Today, Wauna Credit Union is developing program and hiring people to be there for our community members that other places don’t seem to want to help, people who live and work in our communities with an Individual Tax ID number (ITIN), but without a social security number. Often times, people who aren’t native English speakers fall into this category. Because many financial institutions lack multi-lingual staff, or often consider people without a social security number somehow riskier, Latinx communities find themselves at a disadvantage, and often the target of predatory lenders.
One of our first hires at our newest branch in Forest Grove is Frank Elizondo-Alcalá, who went to work sharing the Wauna Credit Union way. “People were so excited to see somebody come in the door who not only speaks fluent Spanish, but more importantly understands the issues they are facing,” he said.
Univision recently featured WCU’s ITIN program, and highlighted a great example of how the Credit Union is making a difference.
“It has made my life easier because before you couldn’t get a new car, you had to go around buying cheaper cars that you don’t have to have a loan to buy a new car, so every so often it failed you, it broke down, it no longer worked and you had to spend on another cart.”
In addition, our Virtual Branch, online chat, and Video Teller Units are staffed by people who can help our Spanish-speaking members. We’re also translating and localizing our digital and printed documents and materials to help ensure we’re not just opening an account, or giving a loan, but earning your membership for life.