Barney Herrera, VP, Strategic Partnerships, Seattle Credit Union and El Centro's Executive Director, Estela Ortega
Seattle Credit Union is guided by altruistic principles like inclusion, cooperation, and community and values like trustworthiness, dynamism, and engagement. We strive to act with integrity in everything we do and put the needs and goals of our members first. That’s why we tailor our products and services to individuals and families – not the other way around.
Our principles and values are what lead us into partnerships like the one we have with El Centro de la Raza, which goes back years, even before we had a branch in Beacon Hill.
Richard Romero, our CEO, approached El Centro’s Executive Director, Estela Ortega, with an honest proposition: to learn the challenges and needs of El Centro’s underserved community and provide products, services, education, and support in sustainable, creative ways that solve those challenges and meet those needs.
In the past, other financial institutions have pledged the same support to El Centro. But we meant it, we delivered it, and we are as committed to the development of their community as we were on the day Richard and Estela first spoke.
We’ve sponsored El Centro galas and events, and recently, partnered with them to produce a free toolkit for community members who are at risk of being detained or deported. The toolkit includes checklists to secure financial accounts and ensure others are in good standing, a glossary of terms, community resources for financial and emotional support in a highly stressful situation, and contact information for our Beacon Hill branch.
This comment from one of our partners captures it all: “In the 1950s, my grandfather boarded a boat with the clothes on his back, a pack of matches, and $10 U.S. dollars. That is all he had to his name. [He lived] a life of extremely hard work and sacrifice. As his granddaughter, I sat before you to view a product that helps immigrant families secure their American dream and all they worked for in their lives. It was truly an overwhelming experience. This work has the potential to be extremely powerful in many family narratives. We may never know the full impact that this product can provide.”
Seattle Credit Union volunteering with El Centro during United Way of King County's Day & Night of Caring Event.
A few months ago, we were proud to receive El Centro de la Raza’s “Equipo del Año Award” (Supporter of the Year Award). Even more satisfying is knowing that we are doing right by the community. That when we come to work every day, our efforts are improving the lives of people that many financial institutions have neglected.
We’ll continue to support El Centro on its mission, as well as continue to provide other products and services that support many of their clients such as Citizenship Loans, assistance at citizenship workshops, and financial education classes throughout Seattle.