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A statement from UMassFive’s CEO and Board of Directors

June 29, 2020 - News

Statement

At UMassFive, it is our mission to be a community that every single member can count on.

When it comes to the topics of inclusion, diversity, equality and awareness, we want our members to know that we have been actively engaging in important conversations internally at every level of our organization, and we are continuing to understand and identify real actionable steps to further our persistence in this endeavor.

We stand in immediate opposition to racism, inequality, violence, and hatred as we work towards achieving a truly equal and unified tomorrow. With this in mind, UMassFive has taken the following actions:

A. We have appointed our Vice President of Human Resources to lead a Task Force to focus our efforts of inclusion, diversity, equity, and awareness here at UMassFive. The members of the Task Force will be drawn from our management, staff, and Board of Directors. Their initial charge is to consult with a Diversity Specialist who can help us better achieve and maintain a truly diverse and inclusive workplace.

B. As a financial institution with educational roots, we understand that education, and equal access to it, is an important tool for fostering inclusion, diversity, equity, and awareness. As an initial step, we have made financial contributions to two organizations whose missions are centered on this very cause. Locally, we have chosen the Center for Multicultural Advancement and Student Success at UMass Amherst and nationally, we selected the United Negro College Fund. Moving forward, we seek to provide support and collaboration on this front with all of the other colleges within our field of membership.

C. We are reaffirming and amplifying the strength and continued resonance of our mission as outlined in our founding cooperative principles, in all that we do:

  1. Voluntary and Open Membership: We stand for the financial well-being of all people, and serve all of our communities without discrimination. We seek to offer a helping hand to those facing financial inequity, and invite you to join in, and help strengthen our cooperative community.

     

  2. Democratic Member Control: We stand for the belief that money does not equal power. That is why our only stakeholders are our members, and every member gets the same single vote. We work for you, and we strive to make each and every voice heard.

     

  3. Member Economic Participation: We understand that when you opened your membership, you put your trust in us. Our loans are funded by your deposits, so when we succeed, so do our members, and when times are tough, we work together to build each other up.

     

  4. Autonomy and Independence: We stand for complete transparency with our membership. As we grow and make decisions, we cannot forget that all outside influences are secondary to the needs of our members.

     

  5. Training and Information: We believe that knowledge is power. We negotiate partnerships that allow us to provide expert resources to our membership, and we train internally with empathy. Our representatives are not sales people. They are teammates, and whether through educational workshops, or suggesting an alternative product, our goal is the same: a membership that is confident and informed with their financial decisions.

     

  6. Cooperation Among Cooperatives: The credit union model of being a non-profit cooperative is rooted in fostering a more sustainable economic business model. We understand that we are stronger when we put differences aside and work together; therefore, we choose to partner and work in concert with other cooperative organizations that benefit our communities and local economies.

     

  7. Concern for Our Communities. We know that when our communities suffer, we suffer too. We are a reflection of those we serve, which is why we spend so much time volunteering and supporting those who are in need. We seek every opportunity every day to help our members find hope, have better access to knowledge, and create pathways to prosperity for all.

     

While these steps as an organization are important, we acknowledge there is still more to be done. The time to recognize unconscious biases, practice deep self-reflection, and host uncomfortable and challenging conversations is now. We expect to learn from these initiatives, respond, and continue to enact change as we are presented with new information. As a financial cooperative, we also encourage our members to engage with us, and to share feedback on how we can better advocate for the black, indigenous, and people of color within our communities. Please join us in the dialogue by sending us an email at IDEA@umassfive.coop.

Sincerely,

                        

Rich Kump, President & CEO          Robert Harrison, Board Chair

On behalf of the UMassFive Board of Directors, and Executive Team

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

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