In order to better help credit unions in the state reach minority – particularly Spanish-speaking – populations, the Illinois Credit Union League has formed a partnership with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Juntos Avanzamos (“Together we Advance”), which is a “prestigious designation” for credit unions committed to “assisting and uplifting Hispanic consumers within their community.”

“ICUL is excited to partner with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions to promote Juntos Avanzamos in order to better serve and empower the growing Hispanic population,” ICUL president and CEO Tom Kane said in a statement. “We strongly believe this program will help our credit unions provide value to an underserved community and fulfill our collective goal of helping people achieve financial independence.”

ICUL also noted that the Chicago Heights branch of Illiana Financial Credit Union, a $240 million institution based in Calumet City, Ill., was the most recent Illinois credit union to receive the “Juntos Avanzamos” designation.

Illiana Financial CU in Chicago Heights celebrates "Juntos Avanzamos” designation
Illiana Financial CU in Chicago Heights celebrates its "Juntos Avanzamos” designation

Illiana Financial celebrated this accomplishment with a “Proclamation Celebration” on September 27 which was attended by the Mayor of Chicago Heights, David Gonzalez and Kane, among other officials.

“Chicago Heights is a city whose roots grew from the many immigrants who made their home here to be closer to the developing steel industry,” said Gonzalez. “We are a city that has always celebrated our diversity, and we are a reflection of the generations of Mexican, Italian, Irish, Polish, and African-Americans who settled here in Chicago Heights. This national designation acknowledges a commitment to better serve our Hispanic residents and provide financial education, products and services to this vital group within our city.”

According to U.S. Census data, about 33 percent of Chicago Heights population is Hispanic/Latino.

More than 20 different states are part of the Juntos Avanzamos network, with dozens of CUs participating from across the country.

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