A chat with Verity Credit Union

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Whether you’re new to the neighborhood or you’ve settled in years (or decades) ago, you probably know how important it is to have a community by your side–especially in a city that’s known for its “Seattle Freeze”. And it might be a bit cheesy or weird to think of a credit union as your community, but that’s truly what Verity Credit Union aims to provide. We recently talked with Maria Alonso, a member and employee of Verity Credit Union, to dig a little deeper into how Verity makes a difference in our community. 

We know Verity is all about serving the community. But how exactly does the credit union keep that promise? 

Maria: Good question! One of the ways the credit union values the community is through our volunteer board. The board’s mission is to fight for those who have been underserved in the past due to systemic oppression and redlining of financial institutions. Verity is also member-owned. That means if you’re a member you can actually vote at our annual meeting. It’s just like being a part of PCC or REI, where we don’t have any shareholders. It’s our members who make the final decisions. 

Wow, that feels so rare in the banking world. We know Verity also offers home loans, and how difficult that can be to get these days. How do you help the community in that regard?

Maria: We partnered with Zest AI to make lending more inclusive and available to those who need it most. This method takes a holistic approach to looking at people’s credit so that the process is more equitable. It ends up increasing access to those who would normally never be considered. In fact, financial institutions that use Zest AI see 25% more people qualifying for loans. 

What about generational wealth? How does Verity support underserved communities when they’re just starting out? 

Maria: Verity is all about supporting organizations that specifically help generational wealth development, including Black Owned Business Excellence, HomeSight, Habitat for Humanity, Black Homeownership Initiative, and Evergreen Impact Housing Fund. We’re also in the community as much as we can–talking to neighbors and figuring out their needs. Last year, our staff volunteered nearly 500 hours with local nonprofits. We went to so many community events, including Rainbow Hop, White Center Pride, Juneteenth celebration at Othello Park, Friends of Waterfront Seattle Block Party, and West Seattle Summerfest. It’s fun to be out there, getting to know the people that make up Seattle. 

Let’s talk about how Verity funds their loans. It’s different than your standard big bank, right? 

Maria: Yup, a good deal different. When you bank with Verity, your money helps make positive impacts in our communities. For example, all financial institutions use customer deposits to fund various loans. Where banks and credit unions fund their loans matters if you care about your community. And with Verity, it really matters. About 87% of Verity’s members’ deposits are used to invest in the local economy and members through loans. Loans for eco-friendly cars, a bike, starting your own small business, or purchasing a home. 

Finally, we can’t let you go without talking about Verity’s product offerings. What can potential members expect if they want to open a checking or savings account?

Maria: We offer free checking and savings accounts. We also have youth accounts for kids who want more independence and a path to financial wealth. Members have over 30,000 ATMs that they can use without incurring any fees. Plus, if you become a Verity member, you can perform a range of transactions at other credit unions as well. 

That’s great! Thank you so much for talking with us. It’s good to know we have a credit union that is so involved in making our community a better place for everyone. 

Maria: Thank you! We’re happy to do it. 

Learn more about Verity and how to join at veritycu.com/communitymatters

Verity Credit Union is a sponsor of My Ballard