Forbes recently published an article about the CO-OP Financial Services’ 2018 THINK Conference, THINK18. The conference aims to promote the expansion of credit unions to serve the personal finance needs of their community members. One of the ways that credit unions are expected to increase individuals’ access to financial knowledge and opportunities is by targeting traditionally under-served communities, such as LGBTQ people.
One of the themes of the THINK18 Conference is that many LGBTQ people do not have a deep-rooted trust in traditional financial institutions because they have faced historical discrimination in seeking financial opportunities, such as personal loans. One of the obstacles to credit unions comprehensively serving the finance needs of the LGBTQ community is that credit unions are typically not large enough to span a wide geographic area. Some of the speakers at the THINK18 Conference challenged credit unions to start expanding across geographic lines and thinking of serving a community of people based on common characteristics instead of proximity to a certain location.
Bobbi Rebell, CFP spoke about this topic general and warned that control of personal finances is a vital step in the progression of LGBTQ people to professional success. Credit unions are designed to be non-profit institutions, which means they could play a critical role in reaching out to more LGBTQ people about ways to manage and invest their money in the long-term. This will empower and equip the LGBTQ community to explore new opportunities in finance and investing that they would not otherwise have.