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As financial leaders, women should join credit union

Credit unionLutherans helping Lutherans. That’s what the new ELCA Federal Credit Union is all about, said the Rev. Arnold Pierson, president and CEO of the new banking cooperative for ELCA Lutherans that opened in June 2016.

“This is a socially responsible way for (ELCA) Lutherans to do their banking,” said Luis Reyes, vice president and COO of the credit union.

Who can join? Anybody who is a member of, works for or volunteers for an ELCA church or agency and their family members, Pierson said.

After March 2017, congregational units and synodical women's organizations can open a business account, Reyes said.

Individuals can join now by opening a savings account with $25. A credit union account allows a member to save money by consolidating existing debt or to apply for a car or personal loan with better rates and lower fees than at most other financial institutions, Reyes said. Mortgage loans will be available in about a year.

"Women are generally the leaders of the finances in the household," Reyes said. "They may take a particular interest in the various ways we can help them save money."

Members of the credit union can access auto and personal loans, credit cards, checking and savings accounts, surcharge-free ATMs, online banking and bill payment and more.

As of October 2016, the ELCA Federal Credit Union gave out about $715,000 in loans to 75 members. Of those, 49 collectively saved $45,000 in finance charges by refinancing or consolidating existing debt, he said. "That's an average savings of $900 per member."

To learn how to save or borrow money through the socially responsible ELCA Federal Credit Union, call 877-715-1111 or visit www.elcafcu.org.