The coronavirus pandemic caused temporary furloughs, many of which have turned permanent, obliterating mom-and-pop shops and other service professions. Though unemployment is improving in the near term, long-term unemployment is worsening. According to CNBC, around one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for at least six months, creating a dangerous financial situation for vulnerable households.
To help CDFI-certified credit unions increase their results serving the unbanked and underbanked, CU Strategic Planning is pleased to announce a new partnership with financial technology and marketing provider Kasasa. The overall goal of this partnership is to move families from just surviving to building back generational wealth and is guided by CU Strategic Planning's mission to unlock opportunities for credit unions to change lives and their communities.
Lack of access to affordable financial services leaves the most financially distressed consumers vulnerable to be taken advantage of by wealth-stripping predatory lenders, check cashers, and the like. As the pandemic continues to impact consumers across the nation, credit unions and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) remain dedicated to empowering and protecting working class, moderate to low-income people, vulnerable populations, and disadvantaged communities.
"Kasasa's products are not just best-in-class for credit unions," Shirley Senn, CU Strategic Planning's Chief Social Impact Engineer, says, “but they are the best we've seen to bank the unbanked for all 98 of the award-winning CDFI certified credit unions we advise."
"This partnership is driven by more than just Kasasa products," Ronaldo Hardy, CU Strategic Planning's Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, explains. "Kasasa uses data analytics to target potential members with a nationally recognized brand to drive financial inclusion in a way that credit unions can't accomplish on their own.
“Minorities comprise the greatest share of the underbanked. Like all consumers, the underbanked place greater trust in national brands. Let's move those consumers away from national cash checkers and payday lenders, like MoneyTree, and into credit unions that want to help them succeed."
The partnership is guided by CU Strategic Planning's mission to unlock opportunities for credit unions to change lives and their communities with the goal to move families from just surviving to building back generational wealth. CDFIs prevent deceptive service providers from siphoning household income critically needed to pay for groceries, utilities, and housing.
The CU Strategic Planning team is most excited by the Kasasa Loan®, the only loan on the market with Take-Backs™ that allow consumers to pay down loan principal faster, reducing interest payments with the option to borrow back their funds in case of emergency. "So many families could benefit by reducing interest payments to retain household income, but it is too risky to take away from emergency savings. This is the best of both worlds," according to Senn.
CU Strategic Planning takes a multi-year approach to community development and is an investment that allows CDFI-certified credit unions to make real differences in the lives of their members and communities. This partnership will enhance credit unions’ ability to offer the augmented services and products that existing and potential members value.
“We are thrilled to partner with CU Strategic Planning as they continue to drive profound change for credit unions and the communities they serve,” Jill Feiler, EVP of Client Success at Kasasa, says. “Credit unions work on a local level and have the benefit of knowing their communities better than the megabanks do, making them the best financial institution to reach underbanked consumers in the area. By offering innovative products with a national brand, credit unions are able to expand their reach and grow while creating value for their members and providing a people-first banking experience.”