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Larry Palochik, Executive Vice President of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, was one of several keynote speakers at this year’s first-ever CU Impact conference, which drew more than 60 attendees.
Larry Palochik, Executive Vice President of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, was one of several keynote speakers at this year’s first-ever CU Impact conference, which drew more than 60 attendees.

CU Leaders Discuss Social Impact for Underserved Communities

More than 60 credit union leaders attended the first-ever CU Impact conference this week, an exclusive forum for industry professionals and practitioners to collaborate, engage, learn, and connect for creating positive and sustainable change and making a valuable social impact in the communities they serve.

This inaugural experience — hosted by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues in Foster City, CA — was held at Visa Inc.’s Innovation Center in San Francisco, which was built to foster collaboration, build solutions and experiences for the future, and spur innovation and cutting-edge answers to some of the financial service industry’s biggest challenges.

The two-day event featured a series of four hard-hitting impact sessions and collaborative community development workshops that provided practical and actionable ideas, strategies, and tactics that can be implemented immediately at credit unions across California and Nevada.

“Everyone took this unique opportunity to engage in a cooperative and innovative setting, become a catalyst for mobilizing future social impact initiatives, and boost current efforts in serving their underserved communities better,” said Larry Palochik, executive vice president of the Leagues. “From relationships that were deepened to the broadening of attendees’ knowledge, skillsets, and their horizons, our very first CU Impact conference was a great success. We want to thank everyone who came to our inaugural conference, and we look forward to coming together again next year.”

Various sessions and presentations provided attendees with the following insights:

  • An overview covering the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation’s (DFPI) position on community and social impact, including helping underserved communities and financial wellbeing for all, as well as how credit unions are supported by the DFPI on these important issues.
  • Helping lenders understand the impact that biases have on lending today, with a brief review of historically discriminatory lending practices that helped create an understanding of today’s lending world. Participants better understood how biases can create disparate impacts and potential violations of the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA). Attendees took away best practices for reducing disparate impact and creating a more equitable lending program.
  • Visa and the National Football League’s (NFL) collaboration to help teach financial concepts with Financial Football, a fast-paced interactive game that engages its audience while teaching money management skills through audibles, blitzes, and game-breaking plays.
  • Discovering the power of impact investments and storytelling, including an overview of the latest trends and developments in the impact investment sector — including other credit unions’ experiences, strategies, tactics, key lessons, actionable knowledge, and inspiration. These all have the potential to make a significant impact within attendees’ local credit unions, attract investment opportunities, and effectively communicate impact stories to stakeholders.
  • An overview of Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund programs, the CDFI Certification, and how credit unions can participate to increase credit availability and accessibility in distressed and underserved communities.
  • The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and its $27 billion Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GHGRF) opportunity for credit unions so they can access flexible capital to drive green lending, reduce energy cost burdens, and help communities prepare for climate events.
  • Juntos Avanzamos credit unions that serve Ventura County were spotlighted for their collaboration with Inclusiv to forge a first-ever formal partnership with the Mexican Consulate, which is designed to reach the neediest among the locally underserved and unbanked populations — creating a model for other credit unions to follow.

Featured speakers included Avy Mallik (California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation), Michelle Gethers-Clark (Visa Inc.), Linda Rossi (Ventura County CU), Oscar Porras (Humanidei + O’Rourke), Jessica Jacobson (CNote), Catherine Berman (Cnote), Jason Boehlert (Community Development Financial Institutions Fund), Hannah Kramer (Inclusiv), Taylor Ellison (Visa Inc.), Larry Palochik (California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues), and Brice Yocum (Tucoemas FCU).

The Leagues look forward to continually engaging credit union professionals who are passionate about leveraging social impact principles to better serve underserved consumers in dozens of communities across California and Nevada going forward! Please email Larry Palochik with any questions.

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