The work we do with credit unions allows them to make real differences in the lives of their members and communities. This could be through CDFI certification or grant writing, strategic planning, product design, partnership creation or any of our other many services. And as part of this work, we get to hear the wonderful member impact stories that illustrate what credit unions are doing to unlock opportunities in the communities they serve.
Sisseton-Wahpeton is a 100% Native CDFI, located on the Lake Traverse Reservation in South Dakota and started by the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate.
This story comes from a very small credit union client of ours—Sisseton Wahpeton FCU in South Dakota, and it’s one of our favorites.
A single mother was supporting three children and one grandchild all on her own, and unexpectedly had her hours at work reduced. She quickly realized that with her lower income she wouldn’t be able to feed her family and still keep up with the payments on her truck loan that was held by the credit union. So she listed her truck for sale online on a local forum.
A Sisseton-Wahpeton employee saw the post, recognized the vehicle and member, and reached out to her to see if the credit union could do anything help her keep her truck. The rep proactively researched refinancing options, reviewing the current loan information and the member’s current income, and determined she was able to refinance.
A few days later, the member refinanced her truck and her new monthly payment was over $320 lower, making it possible to keep her reliable source of transportation—something that’s critical rural South Dakota.
And even beyond the lower payment, the credit union rep also arranged for her to skip four payments without penalty. During those months the member was able to find a second job to make up for her reduced income. She’s current on her loan and has no issues making payments.
Stories like these are why we’re so passionate about helping credit unions gain CDFI certification and writing grant applications that will allow them to continue and expand their work. Our mission is to unlock credit union capacity to change communities, and we’re proud to highlight a few examples of how our clients are doing that.