Changing the South: Latino Community CU’s Herrera recognized by TIME Magazine
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Focusing on the stories, lives and history behind the country’s most culturally complex region, TIME’s special August issue on the American South also recognizes key people who are breaking against the norm to bring new ideas, fresh voices and change to the region.
Among the 31 people featured in the article is Latino Community Credit Union (LCCU) Board President John Herrera, who is one of LCCU’s co-founders and is responsible for supporting the credit union’s external relations and overall strategic planning.
In his feature in TIME, Herrera recounts the lack of access to banking in the late 90s for Mexican laborers and how he and other community leaders saw an opportunity to meet this need for these workers and other immigrants in the North Carolina.
After the 1996 Atlanta Games, many of the Mexican laborers who built the Olympic Village drifted north to North Carolina, following a building boom. They were often paid in cash—which created its own problems. “People knew the easiest way to get cash was to rob a Mexican on payday,” says Herrera, who was then working at Duke University in Durham. “People were easy targets, walking ATMs.”
Commercial banks had little incentive to cater to the workers: their accounts were modest, and getting them required bilingual staff. So, Herrera helped found the Latino Community Credit Union, which 18 years later has 12 branches and $300 million in assets. Staff teach financial literacy to clients who don’t always know how the U.S. banking system works and help them through the paper-work to pay taxes properly.
—K.V., TIME Magazine
“This recognition is a huge honor, and reflects how strong the credit union movement is in North Carolina,” said Herrera. “Latino Community Credit Union is the result of a partnership among credit unions, churches, and foundations—people who saw a need to serve an underserved community. This goes to the credit of everyone who believed in this dream. I’m so proud of the credit union movement—of the leaders in North Carolina who really stepped up to solve this issue. We can all take credit for it. It belongs to all of us.”
Other notable people from the Carolinas featured in the article include: Ashley Christensen, chef and owner of Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, N.C.; Stanfield Gray, founder of DIG SOUTH Tech Conference in Charleston, S.C.; Meherwan Irani, chef and owner of Chai Pani in Asheville, N.C.; and Knox White, mayor of Greenville, S.C.
Read the full article: Meet the 31 People Who Are Changing the South
About Latino Community Credit Union
LCCU was formed back in 2000 through partnership with The Support Center, El Centro Hispano, NC State Employees’ CU, and Self-Help CU. Today, the CDFI-certified credit union continues to operate as a safe place for immigrants to save their money, access credit, improve their financial education, and build wealth. LCCU has consistently been one of the fastest-growing credit unions in the country with $300 million in assets and 75,000 members in 12 branches throughout the state. Since its founding, LCCU has financed 55,000 loans for more than half a billion dollars. Learn more about LCCU’s impact at latinoccu.org/impact.