The board chair at Guadalupe Credit Union is known for her passionate community work.
Above photo: President/CEO John Pembroke (left) and 2018 CUES Distinguished Director James Sackett were on hand to congratulate this year’s honoree, CUES member Linda Medina, chair of $175 million Guadalupe Credit Union, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Also a CUES member, Sackett is vice chair of $1.3 billion Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, Minnesota.
Linda Medina, board chair at $175 million Guadalupe Credit Union, Santa Fe, New Mexico, was named the 2019 CUES Distinguished Director at Directors Conference yesterday.
A board member for 17 years, Medina played a key role in developing the credit union’s current mission to help its membership base become financially empowered.
Medina’s passion to serve the surrounding community, which includes many recent immigrants and the underserved, was key in keeping the credit union focused on this mission and vision. As a result, Guadalupe CU became a Community Development Financial Institution and has since received over $3.8 million in funding. The institution has grown during this timeframe from under $20 million in assets serving residents of Santa Fe County to over $180 million in assets serving more than 20,000 members in seven counties.
“What a great honor,” Medina said, accepting her award. “I’m very thankful to our CEO, [CUES member] Winona Nava, for nominating me, and CUES, for presenting me with this award. I’m also thankful to the members of Guadalupe Credit Union for allowing me to serve as a volunteer for the past 25 years.
“In the 2000 planning session, the strategic direction was changed to serve all residents of Santa Fe County, including the growing population of new immigrants from Mexico and Latin America who were not acculturated to the U.S., were unbanked and whose primary language was Spanish. This was a time of change and turmoil for GCU. Some members of the staff who did not embrace this expanded vision of inclusivity left the credit union. There were also some struggles with board members who did not fully understand the impact of this new direction. Over the past 19 years, the culture of the credit union has changed, and now both staff and board members fully embrace serving all those living in the community.
“In 2010, GCU was certified as a community development financial institution, formal recognition of the commitment to serve the underserved and the unbanked. As a result, GCU expanded its field of membership to serve rural counties where most of the residents live below the poverty line. GCU has a financial coach in each branch to provide financial empowerment to members, helping them to make the most of their money. GCU implemented products and services to help individuals escape the wealth-stripping cycle of predatory debt. These products include predatory debt relief loans and payday loan alternatives, saving members hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. We provide financial education, including reality fairs in high schools and Biz Kid$ programs to help students prepare for the future. We provide financial education in one-on-one coaching to diverse groups from homeless shelters and workplaces.
“We obtain community development financial institution grants as needed to augment GCU’s capital and allow the credit union to expand services to the underserved. Without receipt of a grant in the current fiscal year, the ROA on October 31, 2019, was over 1% and the equity was over 14%. GCU also exhibits the cooperatives helping cooperatives by helping smaller credit union with required audits and other assistance to help them survive.
“The board and supervisory committee reflect GCU’s members. Volunteers are 90% Hispanic and 70% female. GCU has term limits. During my years of service, I have spent eight years on the supervisory committee and 17 years on the board of directors. Many of my years of service to the two volunteer bodies were as chair.
“Again, I want to thank you for this honor. I hope to continue to serve my community. I leave you with a quote from Jon Bon Jovi: ‘The way to feel good is to do good.’”
The CUES Distinguished Director award is presented to a credit union board or committee member whose achievements have strengthened their credit union. Learn more about the CUES recognition awards. cues icon
Lisa Hochgraf is a CUES senior editor.