Over the past several weeks, we at USC Credit Union have been having thoughtful conversations with each other, with our Board of Directors, and with our members about racial injustice and inequality. Importantly, we’ve also been exploring what the Credit Union can and should do to use our position in the community more effectively to address systemic racism and be a powerful force for lasting, positive change.
I firmly believe that USCCU has attained its rank in the top 10% of all credit unions nationwide as a direct result of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. As one of the few Black credit union CEOs in the nation, I am humbled by the boldness, passion, courage, and support of USCCU’s Board of Directors. Under their leadership, USCCU reflects the diversity of our South Los Angeles home — 70% of our team are people of color, with Black men and women comprising 22% of our Board and 17% of our staff.
We are incredibly proud and privileged to be the only financial institution owned by and operated for the USC Community, including students, alumni, staff, and faculty as well as the largely underserved and underbanked residents and small businesses in the neighborhoods surrounding USC’s University Park and Boyle Heights campuses. We are among only 5% of credit unions in the nation certified by the U.S. Treasury Department as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and we’ve also earned certifications from the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) as a Minority Depository Institution (MDI) and a low-income credit union (LICU). All three designations recognize and facilitate our efforts to serve economically disadvantaged individuals and communities. Finally, we recently chartered a non-profit 501(c)3 foundation and a community development fund which aim to tangibly improve the lives of people of color by providing access to affordable capital, encouraging healthy financial habits, and building credit.
All that said, I want to be clear: we have not done enough. We’ve built a solid foundation, and I want you to know that we can and will use this foundation to do more for our community. We view this moment as a new beginning for USCCU and an opportunity to enhance our cooperative’s solidarity with the Black community. In support of this commitment, it’s important to note that we are not creating a task force to implement a few near-term initiatives because what we have in mind doesn’t have defined start and end dates. Instead, we are committed to tangible, measurable and sustainable actions that will touch every aspect of our cooperative – from internal hiring and staff development practices to partnerships with Black-focused institutions and entities, to member and business outreach, and more.
I am as thankful as I am exhilarated by the passion that our USCCU team members have for this endeavor. In the coming weeks, months, and years, you’ll hear more from us about specific actions and investments and their impact. Headquartered as we are in the heart of one of America’s most diverse cities, YOUR member-owned USC Credit Union is uniquely positioned to lead and, in so doing, to create a lasting legacy for future generations.
Thank you, as always, for your support and for your loyal membership.