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First Juntos Avanzamos CU Named in Washington State
Wednesday, January 27, 2016 6:35 AM

First Juntos Avanzamos CU Named in Washington State
Pictured L to R: Troy Stang, Suzy Fonseca, and Rep. Dan Newhouse.

Lower Valley Credit Union in Sunnyside, Washington, has become the first Juntos Avanzamos credit union in Washington state. The Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designation is reserved for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic consumers.

Developed by the Cornerstone Credit Union League, Juntos Avanzamos is a designation for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic consumers. National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is leading the national expansion of the program in partnership with a growing number of state leagues and associations across the country, including the Credit Union Association of New Mexico, the California and Nevada Credit Union League, and the Mountain West Credit Union Association.

Lower Valley has been certified as a Low-Income Financial Institution (CDFI), which serves a majority Hispanic membership. The organization's designation became official at a ceremony on Jan. 19 in Sunnyside, where Lower Valley President/CEO Suzy Fonseca, Board Chairman Cus Arteaga, and Troy Stang, president/CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association accepted the Juntos Avanzamos proclamation from Richard Romero, Federation board member and Seattle Metro Credit Union CEO.

Guest Speakers included Congressman Dan Newhouse, Bryan Ketchum, Director of Catholic Charities Housing Services, Scott Butterfield of Your Credit Union Partner, and Alejandra Seluja of CU Breakthrough. Visit lvcu.org to learn more about the proclamation ceremony.

US Congressman Dan Newhouse offered his congratulations and said, "Being the first Pacific Northwest recipient of the Juntos Avanzamos designation is a testament to the hard work they have done to keep up with and meet the needs of our community. This designation is very significant for many people moving to a new community, especially with a barrier such as language. Lower Valley Credit Union has for years worked to make sure that people have every advantage they need to have to be successful."

Suzy Fonseca described the personal significance of the Juntos Avanzamos designation. "Overcoming adversity is a way of life in our valley. This designation serves as a beacon of hope for those of us that have been shut out of mainstream financial services. When we look in the mirror every morning, we look into the eyes of our membership—we understand that we are them and they are us—nothing more and nothing less." 

"Lower Valley Credit Union embodies the spirit of this initiative," said Pablo DeFilippi, Federation VP of membership. "Through the national expansion of Juntos Avanzamos, we are seeking to build a community of credit unions committed to engaging, serving, and empowering the Hispanic community in the US through innovative credit union services. We congratulate Suzy Fonseca and her team for their leadership in opening the doors of opportunity to the Hispanic and immigrant communities."

The Federation, state leagues and industry partners, including Iowa-based, credit union consultant, Coopera, and the Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals, continue to collaborate on the expansion of the Juntos Avanzamos platform, connecting Hispanic consumers with credit unions committed and prepared to meet Hispanics' financial needs. Credit unions interested in applying for the Juntos Avanzamos designation should contact Jason Chang, Federation Program Associate, at jchang@cdcu.coop.

About Lower Valley Credit Union

Lower Valley Credit Union is a $100 million, Low Income Designated, CDFI certified credit union deeply rooted in Washington State's Lower Yakima Valley. Founded in 1958 and headquartered in Sunnyside, the credit union also operates branches in Prosser and Grandview. LVCU is dedicated to serving the needs of its community and growing membership of over 13,000 strong through following its vision of 'Planting Seeds of Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow'.