Lower Valley Credit Union Wins $100,000 Wells Fargo NEXT Award for Innovative Strategy to Improve Consumer Finance 

SUNNYSIDE, WASHINGTON, AUGUST 17th, Lower Valley Credit Union (LVCU) won a $100,000 Wells Fargo NEXT Seed Capital Award to implement its strategy to launch its innovative consumer finance community outreach program in Prescott, WA.

LVCU will use seed funds, along with strategic partnerships, to place Virtual Interactive Teller Machines in rural immigrant communities in Washington where residents have limited access to traditional bank branches. The 2,100 agricultural laborers who are employed at Broetje Orchards during peak fall harvest season will now have easy, local access to credit union services such as ITIN mortgage and consumer loans, and LVCU’s nationally acclaimed Citizenship Program.

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 nearly 13,500 strong through following its vision of ‘Planting Seeds of Opportunity for a Better Tomorrow’.

“LVCU is honored to have been selected as the awardee for the Wells Fargo NEXT Seed Capital Award. The $100,000 award will go a long ways in allowing for the credit union to build a more robust Interactive Teller Machine Network which will reach and provide much needed financial services to members of very rural communities. Members of these communities will now be able to open membership, savings, checking, and loan accounts where they live and work, and speaking to a LVCU staff member in their language of choice. This award will help change the lives of thousands of community members by providing access to vital financial services that would otherwise be unavailable to these individuals, said Josh Beck, Executive VP and CFO.

“Never before has it been more necessary for CDFIs to embrace fintech, explore new distribution models, and develop leading-edge, responsible financial products. LVCU’s innovative consumer finance strategy proves that community lenders are the next frontier for innovation in responsible consumer finance,” said Fran Lutz, interim CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s premier CDFI network.

OFN presents the NEXT Awards in partnership with Wells Fargo and Prudential and support from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.

For more information visit NEXTawards.org.

About the Awards

The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrate the CDFI industry—its creativity, accomplishments, and enduring importance.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the NEXT Awards. Launched in 2007, the NEXT Awards celebrate the innovation of the nation’s most promising CDFIs by awarding more than $76 million through a competitive awards process. Each year the NEXT Awards culminates in a ceremony at OFN’s Annual Conference to spotlight Awardees and the entire CDFI industry.

About the Groups behind the Awards

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with over $1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2016, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit www.news.prudential.com.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. MacArthur has been a leading supporter of the Opportunity Finance field since the early 1980s, investing nearly $250 million in approximately 100 groups nationwide. More information is available at: www.macfound.org.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 371 grants totaling $125.2 million, and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million. For more information, visit kresge.org.

Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is the leading national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) investing in opportunities that benefit disinvested communities across America. Through 2014, OFN’s network originated over $42 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, with a net charge-off rate of less than one percent. For more information, visit ofn.org.