Native Credit Unions: A Middle Path for Building Financial Access and Capability in Native Communities

The structure and mission of credit unions uniquely positions them to effectively provide a range of basic financial services critical to Native communities.

Nikki Pieratos | Project Director

Published February 15, 2019

Abstract
Among the most unbanked and underbanked in the United States, Native Americans have much less access to affordable, good-quality financial services. Native credit unions fill important credit and capital needs of the underbanked consumers throughout Indian Country. They also provide a unique business profile different from two other mainstream Native financial institutions, Native-owned banks and Native Community Development Financial Institution (NCDFI) loan funds. Native credit unions’ social mission, cooperative ownership structure, and focus on financial education align closely with the needs of most Native communities. Increased visibility, sponsor support, and industry resources signal the potential for the growth and expansion of Native credit unions to create even greater opportunities for financial access and capability in Native communities.


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