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Coopera Advances Juntos Avanzamos in Iowa
Monday, February 8, 2016 6:35 AM

Juntos Avanzamos has found its way into the Midwest, as credit unions in Iowa can now apply for and receive the Juntos Avanzamos, or “Together we advance,” designation. Created by the Cornerstone Credit Union League and initially offered only in the Cornerstone region, Juntos Avanzamos recognizes those credit unions that have made a sincere commitment to serving the Hispanic community.

Credit unions nationwide can now earn the designation thanks to the work of Iowa-based consulting firm Coopera and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

“Iowa credit unions provide members with a safe place to save their money, while offering the opportunity to build credit and be on the path to financial security,” said Murray Williams, Iowa Credit Union League chief operating officer. “Homeownership, education levels and income all increase when a community has access to dignified financial services. This impact is critical for the success of Hispanic families in our state, and Coopera is at the forefront of these efforts.”

The availability of the designation in Iowa comes at an important time, as the state’s growing Hispanic population often has a difficult time finding access to responsible and affordable financial products and services, according to Miriam De Dios, Coopera CEO. (See related story on Juntos Avanzamos webinar offered Feb. 11).

Hispanics make up the state’s youngest and oldest demographic minority, and constitute 5.6 percent of Iowa’s population. By 2050, Hispanics are expected to make up 13 percent of the population.

“Consistent with the credit union philosophy of ‘people helping people,’ Juntos Avanzamos is an outreach program helping Hispanic and immigrant consumers understand the U.S. financial system, as well as providing affordable, relevant, and dignified financial services,” De Dios said. “Growing up in an unbanked household, I understand intimately the needs of the financially underserved Hispanic community. The affordable products and personal service credit unions provide have the potential to be life changing for several generations of both foreign and U.S.-born Hispanics.”