A CFDI in Missoula, Montana doing things a little bit differently
One of the biggest problems with the current model for lending in the US is that banks tend to only think of a certain type of person as a good loan recipient. This is especially true for mega-banks, which make the majority of their loans in affluent areas. Traditional banking also requires that loan recipients meet very specific credit and income requirements, but those who don’t meet these benchmarks may be those who could benefit most from small business and consumer loans.
Clearwater Credit Union in Missoula, MT, has made it clear throughout their practice that diversity is essential, especially in lending. They’re a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), and the story from Clearwater CU featured on the GABV website is especially poignant. Not only did they help develop and provide a financial literacy course for refugees which a father of four, identified as Desbele, took when he and his family arrived from Eritrea, Clearwater CU also gave him a loan to buy a van which enabled the family to take advantage of all of the educational and professional opportunities offered to them.
Clearwater CU has even built diversity into their mission statement; having customers from all backgrounds is “critical to their performance.” Their mission statement also emphasizes having a positive impact on the communities they work in. This is probably why they offer unconventional loans to unconventional customers, serving those overlooked by traditional banks.
Their home energy loans allow the environmentally conscious customer on a budget to invest in clean energy by providing capital for the upfront costs. The bank emphasizes sustainability in other ways, too, as they became carbon neutral in 2020 and have detailed their environmental impact in this thorough and publicly available report.
They dedicate a website page to transparency, providing anyone with not just their financial statements, but their strategic plan for the next four years and specifics on how they compensate their employees as fairly as possible.
As the largest CDFI in Montana, Clearwater CU is a fantastic option for anyone living or working the Missoula area. For a list of counties included in their services, check out their eligibility requirements here. If you are eligible, check out their website for more information or sign up for an account with them today!