Lower Valley Credit Union Becomes the First Juntos Avanzamos Designated Credit Union in Washington State

Lower Valley Credit Union has become the first Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) designated credit union in Washington state. The Juntos Avanzamos designation is reserved for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic consumers. Juntos Avanzamos was developed by the Cornerstone Credit Union League for credit unions serving Hispanic consumers in Texas. Since September 2015, the 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: the Credit Union Association of New Mexico; the California and Nevada Credit Union League and the Mountain West Credit Union Association.

The designation became official at a ceremony on January 19th in Sunnyside, where credit union President and CEO, Suzy Fonseca, Board Chairman, Cus Arteaga, and President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, Troy Stang, accepted the Juntos Avanzamos proclamation from Federation board member and Seattle Metro Credit Union President and CEO, Richard Romero. Guest speakers included Director of Catholic Charities Housing Services, Bryan Ketchum, Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, Scott Butterfield, CU Breakthrough Consultant for the Federation, Alejandra Seluja, President and CEO of the Northwest Credit Union Association, Troy Stang, and Congressman Dan Newhouse.

“Diverse, economically thriving communities like those of the Yakima Valley would not be what they are today without the work of forward thinking organizations involved in programs such as Juntos Avanzamos. I would once again like to extend the credit union’s appreciation for the work of the various organizations involved in this program and those organizations we work with locally on a daily basis who made this day possible. Together we will continue to advance upon the work we collectively have only just begun.”

Josh Beck

Executive VP / CFO, Lower Valley Credit Union

“There is a reason this credit union was selected as Juntos Avanzamos, there is a reason this credit union was selected as the Credit Union Times Trailblazer for 2014 for providing services to the underserved, there is a reason this credit union has received a U.S. Treasury grant and was recognized, and there is a reason that someone here is soon to be recognized as a credit union Hero of the Year… I have been in this business for 30 years and this is the most inspiring work I have ever done, thank you for that, Juntos Avanzamos indeed.”

Scott Butterfield

Principal of Your Credit Union Partner

“What Juntos Avanzamos is trying to accomplish and identify are which credit unions are really helping the whole of our communities, rather than just a part of them.”

Alejandra Seluja

CU Breakthrough Consultant for the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

“I can’t think of a better place to roll out this program in our great state than Lower Valley Credit Union. Suzy Fonseca and her team have demonstrated that as an industry we can do well by doing good. They have opened up the doors of opportunity to the Hispanic community and as a result, Lower Valley Credit Union has experienced phenomenal loan and share growth. Financial performance and impact can in fact go hand on hand.”

Richard Romero

President and CEO, Seattle Metro Credit Union & Federation Board Member

“Juntos Avanzamos” or “Together We Advance” is not just about helping people afford a car, or even a home, it’s much more than that. And the acceptance of this designation and the raising of this flag signifies that this credit union is much more than just a financial institution.”

Cus Arteaga

Board Chairman of Lower Valley Credit Union, City Administrator of Grandview, WA

“Overcoming adversity is a way of life in our valley… Many of us, including myself, are first generation Americans. Many of us, including myself, were or are migrant farm workers. Many of us, including myself, grew up speaking Spanish, and many of us, including myself, are extremely proud of our humble upbringing. 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.”

Suzy Fonseca

President and CEO, Lower Valley Credit Union

“The Juntos Avanzamos program is one very important program bringing financial services to more American residents, seeing what immigrants and new Americans need to do to make sure they have the financial services these credit unions provide, being founded on the People Helping People philosophy.”

Troy Stang

President and CEO, Northwest Credit Union Association

I congratulate Lower Valley Credit Union for the national recognition for outreach efforts to better serve the Yakima Valley. 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 that they need to have to be successful. Recognizing that hard work is key for success in our community, our state, and our nation.

Dan Newhouse

Congressman

Lower Valley Credit Union embodies the spirit of this initiative. 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. We look forward to working with Lower Valley on expanding access to responsible financial services for all,”

Pablo DeFilippi

Federation VP of Membership