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Group seeks donations to open LGBTQ credit union on Capitol Hill

sitebanner@2xA Seattle organization hoping to open a LGBTQ-focused credit union on Capitol Hill is seeking donations to keep the effort afloat. Equality Washington formed last year to launch the Equality Credit Union, aimed at serving Washington’s LGBTQ community and re-investing in LGBTQ individuals and causes.

The non-profit has just one day left in its fundraising campaign to help get the credit union off the ground. On Tuesday afternoon, the group had raised around $34,000 in their Indiegogo campaign to reach $50,000 by Wednesday night. Vice president Andrew Tasakos appealed to supporters for help on the organization’s fundraising page.

“We really do need to hit our goal to continue. We have been funding this effort ourselves since April and it has grown to a point where assistance is needed and appreciated,” Tasakos wrote.

The group will retain the funds its raised even if it doesn’t meet its goal. Equality Washington, which plans to open branches on Capitol Hill and South Lake Union, recently obtained non-profit status in order to allow for tax-deduticlbe donations.

Credit unions are member-owned, nonprofit financial institutions that serve specific communities and, occasionally, underserved populations. Before Liberty Bank opened in the Central District, a few small credit unions served black families who struggled to obtain loans.

According to Equality Washington, traditional banks are not meeting the special financial needs of LGBTQ customers, especially when it comes to same-sex couples trying to obtain mortgages and other financing.

Last year Sen. Patty Murray introduced the Freedom from Discrimination in Lending Act to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination when securing credit. While Washington law prohibits financial institutions form discriminating against LGBTQ people, Equality Washington says 29 states lack such protections.

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7 thoughts on “Group seeks donations to open LGBTQ credit union on Capitol Hill

  1. I agree that banks don’t meet the LGBTQ populations needs very well, but they don’t meet SOCIETIES needs very well. The credit unions that do serve Seattle are all very LGBTQ friendly, and I guess I’m not seeing a need to self segregate myself.

      • If I may respond to that. This is a Washington state credit union that will serve the needs of all residence, including those in other parts of the state that do not have institutions that are as accepting. Yes, we are very lucky to live in Seattle, and Washington State for that matter, but did you know that you can still be denied a home loan, lose your job, or be kicked out of your rental unit just because you identify as LGBTQ. We are building an organization that says, “yes, you are wanted here, and we are here for you.” Imagine being transgender and walking into an institution with a drivers license that says one thing and you are presenting as another. We are working on building a platform that allows two signatures, one that identifies with the name on the ID presented and one that the transgender person uses in daily life. There are lots of reasons, this is just one example. We will be holding community meetings to further explore other unique needs of our community. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any more questions, or have any more that I can answer for you. We are very proud of what we are building, and want people to understand the reasons behind it.
        Thank you,
        Andrew

      • I’d also like to add to the discussion! We’ve gotten the “don’t segregate us” response before and it helps me understand we have some work to do in order to clarify our intent and mission! So thank you for speaking up!

        Credit unions are unique financial institutions which allow their membership and staff to respond to the needs of groups of people. As the LGBTQ population emerges from our dark place of inequality in this country…we have noted that their are growing issues and needs, as well as opportunities to empower, support, and ensure our livelihood, truly as a new community. Yes, we as Americans as often proud to count ourselves as vital members of other communities, and at times, we like smaller groups, like to be clearly amongst people like ourselves, people who share the fact that “we” are LGBT and Q people, and it’s important to retain and be proud of that uniqueness. However, it can often come with years of pain, baggage, on-going and new types of discrimination, and challenges…we simply want to offer a place where we, as community members, can be confident and comfortable to be ourselves. As well as proud knowing there is a representative financial institution dedicated specifically to our known and not-yet-realized needs and dreams. Loan and reinvestment back into our community to ensure strong small business, and confident community members with an equal and fair opportunity to engage in banking and financial interactions!

      • I’m not sure why I should trust my $$ with someone who can’t distinguish between residence and residents. Just saying. And I’ll just add my two cents by saying that this seems like a waste of money trying to meet a need that doesn’t truly exist or that can’t be met through existing infrastructure.

      • Oh and one other question. You all are keeping the money collected whether or not you meet your goal. What EXACTLY will be done with those funds in the very likely event that this Credit Union never opens their doors? Just curious.