A Low-Income Credit Union devoted to seeing their members’ financial goals come true in Boston
Approximately half of Boston’s population is Latinx, although this percentage has fluctuated in the 21st century, due to gentrification, the 2008 housing crisis, and then a recent push for affordable housing. There are a lot of forces at play as development surges in Boston, and it’s important for the banks and credit unions there to be intentional about where and to whom they’re making housing loans. However, with Naveo Credit Union’s background serving specifically Portuguese immigrants, and their designation as a Low-Income Credit Union (LCU), we can safely assume that this Better Banking Option is aware of the specific problems facing their members as low- and moderate-income residents of Boston.
Naveo Credit Union is a little credit union with a big history--they celebrated their 91st year of operation in March. Originally incorporated by a group of Portuguese Americans who felt their banking and financial needs were not being met by traditional banking institutions, Naveo started as Cambridge Portuguese Credit Union. Since then, their mission has been to “guide the financial lives of the people we serve – in the neighborhoods where we live.” This mission to form personal relationships with their members to better understand their financial needs ends up resulting in an impressive lending portfolio.
They also make a more conscious effort than most credit unions to be transparent about their lending practices. In their 2018 annual report to their shareholders (who in the case of credit unions, are the members), they include a pie chart exhibiting that more than half of their lending goes to mortgage lending and another fifth goes to business lending. We’re also able to see at BankLocal that 12.5% of their total assets go to small businesses, specifically. However, neither of their two locations are in qualified census tracts (QCTs), so we’d encourage them to open their next branch in a neighborhood that is less affluent, even if they have achieved an LCU designation.
While they originally only served those of Portuguese decent, they’ve recently opened up their eligibility so that anyone living or working in the greater Boston area can invest in this Better Banking Option. More than half of their board members are Latinx, demonstrating that membership representation is still a priority. They’re involved in several community programs and organizations that are active in the neighborhoods they work in, as well as having an annual scholarship that awards $1,000 to four students whose family member(s) bank with Naveo.
Naveo Credit Union is a great Better Banking Option for anyone looking to support community development lending in Boston, although you have to be living in the area to open an account there. If you’re looking to make a difference in your banking practices today, check out their website to get started.