A 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.