Ascentra Credit Union helps level financal help for minority communities

Published: Sep. 24, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - TV6 is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 to October 15, by recognizing Latino businesses and community members making a difference.

The Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded Ascentra Credit Union Corporation of the Year.

Ascentra Credit Union was founded in 1950, in the basement of Alcoa Davenport Works, which is now Arconic. Alvaro Macias, the Vice-President of Business Development says he and Ascentra recognize “banking services were not always accessible to certain populations” and they’re working to change that.

Half of the employees at Ascentra Credit Union are bilingual, says Macias. About 12% of the customers are Hispanic, and Macias says the vast majority of them prefer Spanish when discussing “financial terms and jargon we use in finances. It’s a lot easier to digest when it’s in a language you prefer.” He adds that many of their customers might know English but are more comfortable in Spanish. It’s Ascentra’s goal to help them work through it and provide assistance in whatever language the customer needs. Ascentra recently launched a digital banking app that’s available in both English and Spanish.

They’ve also created “The Newcomers Initiative” to make sure immigrants can afford naturalization fees. Macias shares that they’ve received funding through grants to help individuals apply for a low-interest loan in order to obtain citizenship faster, “it’s important to many because costs keep going up every so often. So when they get that important civic paperwork done, they can apply for better-paying jobs, and for some people, they get the chance to vote.”

Ascentra Credit Union hopes to level banking and make a life-long impact: “if people can manage their finances they can have a better life and pass it to their kids and it’s just great for our community as a whole,” says Macias.

A formal Hispanic outreach program was started over 10 years ago, according to Macias. He says Ascentra “naturally expands” to work with immigrant communities, whether it be Hispanic, African, or Asian.

This is the second time Ascentra Credit Union has won this award, and they’re the only recipient from the category to win twice so far. The credit union also partners with local groups like LULAC and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

If you want to celebrate Hispanic heritage, here is a list of some Latino-owned businesses in the Quad Cities that you can support year-round.

Copyright 2020 KWQC. All rights reserved.

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