Founded in 1941 by university employees, Notre Dame FCU has become a robust organization offering affordable financial services to a diverse membership of 57,000 residents of Notre Dame, IN. To learn more about their Hispanic Outreach Initiative, Inclusiv interviewed John Wilkening, Notre Dame's Chief Retail Officer.
The initiative can be traced back 15 years, with the arrival of Freddie Thon, a new Hispanic board member from Puerto Rico. They also drew inspiration from their own experience in Hispanic communities. “When I joined Notre Dame FCU, I would often visit the branch and see what team members, Mireya Olvera, Aidee Rodriguez, and Edwin Santiago, meant to the community. The entire team was built into the community. I knew right then we had to do more and we decided to launch our Hispanic and Latino Initiative.”
Notre Dame’s goal is simple: to be there. From schools to churches to the kitchen table, they aspire to become their community’s financial safety net. “We want to touch as many lives as possible. Our goals are to fill whatever void there is in the community. Whatever rain falls, we want to have an umbrella.” Notre Dame researched what other credit unions were doing to serve Hispanic communities. That is when they discovered Juntos Avanzamos. “The designation truly allows us to lead from the front and with credibility. It brings a badge of trust,” says John.
Notre Dame also considers financial education to be an integral component of their Hispanic Initiative. “Our guidance in establishing credit and getting folks to homeownership is real and it is happening every day. What can be better than that? We are delivering the American Dream.”