Fitzsimons Credit Union Receives Juntos Avanzamos Designation for Serving the Hispanic Community
The Aurora-based Fitzsimons Credit Union was awarded the Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designation on October 18th, marked by a public proclamation ceremony and celebration. Fitzsimons is one of two Colorado credit unions receiving this nationwide designation, marking an important step in their mission to help Aurora’s growing Latino population have access to affordable banking products and services.
The Juntos Avanzamos designation is reserved for credit unions committed to serving and helping the Hispanic community. Originally developed by the Cornerstone Credit Union League, Juntos Avanzamos was used to recognize credit unions serving Hispanic consumers in Texas and Oklahoma. “The Juntos Avanzamos designation helps assure that credit unions are truly friendly to the Hispanic market,” Scott Earl, President and CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association said. “Fitzsimons has proven itself to be a strong advocate for its Hispanic members by providing lifeline and expanded services that help improve their lives. We applaud them for this achievement.”
In September 2015, the program was taken national by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation), and since has expanded to ten additional states: AZ, CA, CO, FL, IA, IL, NJ, NM, OR and WA, as well as the District of Columbia, adding 24 credit unions to the program. Participant credit unions serve more than 4 million consumers and deliver responsible financial products through over 600 community branches.
In order to qualify, credit unions must demonstrate that they have flexible loan underwriting and customer identification acceptance policies, offer affordable credit, savings and transaction services, and make their products, services and financial education accessible to Spanish-speakers.
To recognize and celebrate the designation, executives and staff from Fitzsimons Credit Union, representatives from Mountain West Credit Union Association and the Federation, members of the Aurora City Council and the community gathered on Tuesday, October 18th at the Fitzsimons main branch located at 2201 N Fitzsimons Parkway in Aurora. The Juntos Avanzamos proclamation and flag were accepted by Fitzsimons Credit Union President/CEO Robert Fryberger from the Federation SVP of Membership and Development Services Pablo DeFilippi. Guest speakers included Scott Earl, President and CEO of the Mountain West Credit Union Association; Jeremías Guzmán Barrera from the Mexican Consulate; Steve Hogan, City of Aurora mayor; Agnes Talamantez Carroll of the Doña Inés on Radio Luz ¡Arriba Mi Negocio! and a Fitzsimons Credit Union member, Maria Gonzalez.
“Fitzsimons Credit Union has supported the economic and cultural diversity of the Aurora community for over 60 years and serving its largest minority group fits into the credit union’s mission and vision,” says Fryberger, who also serves as the chair for the Aurora Business Advisory Board. “Being recognized for our work in the Hispanic community and receiving the designation is a true honor.”
“We applaud Fitzsimons CU’s commitment to financial inclusion and leadership in recognizing the need for affordable and responsible financial services in the Hispanic community,” said DeFilippi. “Thanks to these new asset building opportunities, Latinos will be able to start or expand their businesses, purchase a home and send their children to college. This is what the American dream is all about,” he concluded.
Fitzsimons Credit Union is located in Aurora, CO which is 28% Hispanic or Latino. Fitzsimons Credit Union re-focused its efforts to be a valued partner to the Hispanic community beginning in 2011 with research, educating the staff about Latino culture, and adjusting products and services to meet this demographic’s needs. The credit union began to see the positive effects of its efforts towards this underserved population in 2014 and is continuing to develop and fine-tune products and services to better serve this community. The credit union offers accounts for those with alternative forms of ID, loans for those with ITINs, credit building loans for those with no or low credit, financial literacy in Spanish for those that could use a little guidance, and a 0%-interest loan for those looking to pay for citizenship expenses.