Credit Union groups partner to foster financial inclusion in Louisiana
The Louisiana Credit Union League and the African-American Credit Union Coalition celebrated their partnership at La Capitol Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge
La Capitol Federal Credit Union was the kick-off event host venue for a new partnership between the Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) and the African-American Credit Union Coalition (AACUC). The League is the state trade association for more than 120 Louisiana credit unions. The AACUC is a non-profit group that promotes professional development while bolstering the global credit union movement.
Tapping into the unique strengths of C-Suite leaders was the heart of a panel discussion led by Alexis Stewart, La Capitol’s training specialist. Panelists Murlonda Webb, vice president of diversity, equity & inclusion at EFCU Financial; Alane Dent, vice president, corporate & legislative affairs at TruStage; and Liz Ponder, executive vice president/chief retail officer at SRP Federal Credit Union, shared their perspectives and personal journeys in the credit union industry.
Maurice Smith, immediate past chairman of the AACUC Board of Directors and retired credit union executive, presented an AACUC legacy piece in which he shared his own development in the credit union movement and his desire as a young boy to be a bank president. His father, a farmer, started his education with that in mind. While still in his youth, he was taught economic principles including “the Rule of Seven to supply-and-demand; from compound interest and how business works,” Smith said.
He made special note of the lessons on creating wealth and affecting communities – how to improve the livelihood of a community by increasing financial access. “So, I always thought my job, my mission, and my legacy in credit unions is trying to figure out how to bridge the gap from one community to the next,” Smith said.
“Figuring out how to do that is the mission of credit union staff – what you do here is helping people live better lives. You are different from a typical banking institution.”
Smith’s perspective and background in credit union leadership is central to the decision that to the LCUL and AACUC partnership – to foster greater financial inclusion and empowerment within diverse communities. “This groundbreaking collaboration brings together the collective strengths and expertise of two esteemed organizations committed to driving positive change in the credit union industry,” the organizations said in a joint statement.
La Capitol executives in attendance included Michael Hooper, CEO and President, and Chief Operations Officer Mark Matthews who also sits on the LCUL Board of Directors.
“Together, we pave the way for innovation, professional development, growth, and inclusivity in the credit union industry,” said Juan Fernández Ceballos, LCUL President and CEO. “We will empower communities, while helping credit unions be relevant into the future.”