Removing Barriers Blog

CUNA Writes to Committee Lending Support to Promoting Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Posted April 30, 2019 by CUNA Advocacy

CUNA wrote to Chairwoman Beatty and Ranking Member Wagner prior to the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion’s hearing on “Good for the Bottom Line: The Business Case for Diversity and Inclusion.”

In the letter, CUNA highlighted what credit unions do to support and promote diversity and inclusion:

Credit Unions Are Committed to Advancing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Credit unions value and embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and have a long history of serving underserved and diverse communities. Advancing DEI is an explicit priority of credit union leadership, including CUNA’s Board of Directors which has taken steps to ensure the association’s governance processes and workforce reflect these principles. Further, CUNA has committed to be a thought-leader on DEI for credit unions. Together, CUNA, the state credit union leagues and associations, credit union service organizations and credit unions are working to deepen DEI in the credit union industry at both the organizational and member levels.

The Business and Credit Union Values Case for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Credit unions recognize that there is a strong business case for DEI. Three decades’ worth of compelling research shows that organizations with diverse leaders tend to perform better, are more innovative, and are more successful attracting and retaining top talent, and organizations that advance people from underrepresented groups perform better and are better able to serve the needs of diverse customers.

Credit Unions Lead the Way on CEO Gender Diversity and Strive to Bolster Racial and Ethnic Diversity
Credit unions are unique in the marketplace and lead the way when it comes to gender diversity with 52% of credit union CEOs being women.5 By comparison, in the United States, only 6% of Fortune 500 company CEOs are women and approximately 5% of bank CEOs are women.6 Globally, the International Monetary Fund reports that less than 2% of financial institutions’ CEOs are women.

Credit Unions Reach and Serve Diverse Members
It is well documented that diverse and often underserved communities face several barriers when it comes to access to financial services. Among these barriers is geographic access to financial institutions. Credit unions are doing their part to reduce these obstacles to financial inclusion by locating a relatively higher proportion of their branches in diverse and underserved areas.

Credit Unions are Committed to Doing More
Throughout the credit union system, there are notable, conscious and intentional efforts to work on the different aspects of DEI, with the goal of improving lives by helping Americans to have access to quality financial services. In addition to action taken by the CUNA Board of Directors to better reflect DEI as a priority in association’s governance and workforce, we are working with other organizations in the credit union space to advance DEI priorities system-wide.

CUNA will continue to support and promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in business. Embracing and advancing these efforts is a part of who we are as credit unions and is one of our big differences from other financial institutions. But we know we can always do more, and it's important that we collectively consider how we can build stronger ties to underserved communities.