Less than two years ago, Nancy Gómez and her husband left Colombia and immigrated to America with their three children. The financial systems in Colombia are much different than in the US, so she did not have the credit history and financial aptitude to buy a house in her new country. Through a lot of hard work and support and education from community organizations and Greylock Federal Credit Union’s community development services, she moved her family in to their own home this spring. Gómez shared her story Monday night at an event marking Greylock’s national recognition through Juntos Avanzamos, a network of credit unions dedicated to serving the Hispanic community.
As a Community Development Financial Institution, Greylock is committed to providing all people and communities with access to the financial services and investment capital they need to thrive. Greylock was able to provide Gómez with financial counseling, education, and credit building tools that allowed her to participate in the local economy and fulfill her family’s American dream.
Greylock’s pledge to serve the Hispanic community received national recognition and the Lee and West Street Pittsfield branches are now designated Juntos Avanzamos credit union locations by Inclusiv, a national community development organization. The community celebrated this award Monday night with nearly 300 people gathered outside the Credit Union’s West Street branch. “We are so honored to receive this recognition,” said Greylock President/CEO John Bissell. “Our Credit Union is dedicated to helping anyone and everyone in the communities we serve, regardless of where they come from, how they worship, who they choose to love, their physical abilities or even how much money they have.”
Gloria Escobar, a core member of Greylock’s community development team and a key driver of the Hispanic initiative, opened the festivities. The family-friendly event was complete with Hispanic foods, dance, and music. The formal presentation of the proclamation included Gómez’s story, a poem recited by her young daughter Guadalupe, and congratulatory remarks from /inclusiv/, the Cooperative Credit Union Association, Mayor Linda Tyer, and Bissell.
Juntos Avanzamos (“Together We Advance”) is a designation for credit unions committed to serving and empowering Hispanic and immigrant consumers – helping them navigate the U.S. financial system and providing safe, affordable and relevant financial services. Juntos Avanzamos credit unions employ bilingual, culturally competent staff and leadership, and treat all of their members with respect, regardless of immigration status. The Juntos Avanzamos network is growing quickly; it currently includes 96 credit unions in 26 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Learn more about Juntos Avanzamos at www.inclusiv.org/initiatives/juntos-avanzamos-together-we-advance and www.juntosavanzamos.org.