What is this all about? A bank that caters to just the LGBTQ community? Well, Michigan State, USA, agrees to the need for such an institution and has provided approval for the nation’s first LGBTQ credit union. Being, the first of its kind, this union is specifically designed for gay and transgender customers.
Michigan Approves the establishment of an LGBTQ bank.
According to Bloomberg, Michigan gave the go-ahead nod to Superbia Credit Union for a bank, this Monday. The charter is for a new financial institution that is specifically designed for LGBTQ customers. Online services for the institution will begin in early next year, 2020.
Superbia Credit Union is focused on offering financial services that are different from “more traditional lender” as reported by Bloomberg. Some examples of their services are like loans to support the transitioning process for transgender people. Their website reads,
“Superbia Credit Union is the first ever Profit-for-Purpose financial institution that exists solely to serve and advocate for the LGBTQ community across the country.”
Superbia Credit Union – A financial Institution for the LGBTQ
Myles Meyers is the founder of Superbia Services Inc., based in New York. This is the institution that created the LGBTQ credit union ‘Superbia Credit Union’. According to the founder, Meyers said that lenders treat straight people and binary couples differently than, gay people and couples. He told Bloomberg,
“I can walk into a bank or credit union and apply for a loan or credit card or savings accounts and frankly, no problem.”
“If I walked into the same institution with my husband, we can come across different responses and welcome. And this is where it all starts to change for the community.”
-As reported by Bloomberg
Superbia is going to form a board and will begin hiring executives. Superbia Services, however is not planning to stop at just the Credit Union. Instead, they have plans to expand and provide products for insurance, wealth management, and health care. All of these services will be specially designed and targeted at the LGTBQ customers, said Meyers.
According to Washington Examiner, there is a monetary incentive for financial institutions that cater to or are targeting gay customers. On the same front, a projection from 2017 found that the buying power of the LGBTQ community is of high value. According to the projections by Witeck Communications, combining the buying power of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans gives an estimate of a whopping 987 billion dollars.
Why the need for financial services that cater to the LGBTQ community?
It is no secret that an increasing number of corporates in America and around the world-wide are becoming inclusive and supportive of the LGBTQ community. In the states, corporates are showing support for LGBTQ rights. Furthermore, hundreds of companies have shown their support by signing on to support state and federal laws. These laws seek to provide equal protection to the LGBTQ people. Finally, within Americans, the majority of the population support same-sex marriage.
Related Reading: Indian Companies Allying With The LGBTQ+
However, despite such support, discrimination against LGBTQ consumers continue. In fact, it is still legal to discriminate against the LGBTQ people in many states in the USA. Research shows that irrespective of geography, gay couples face obstacles in banking.
Specifically, the research found that same-sex couples were 73 % more likely to be rejected for a mortgage when compared to a heterosexual couple. Furthermore, those who do get approved were given higher interest rates than normal. This was despite the fact that they were less likely to default on loans. Finally, according to the Guardian, there are online LGBTQ spaces on social media where transgender people get crowdfunding to cover costs for their transitioning process. Therefore, if institutions such as Superbia provide loans for such purposes, then it will help the community.
Will such an institution solve the problem?
What will make it easier for the LGBTQ community to access financial services without having to face discrimination? Maybe, this new credit union is the first step to answering that question. But will this encourage existing institutions to adopt inclusive behaviour towards its customers? Or will this just open an ally to new providers who specifically cater to the LGTBQ community?
In the United States of America, close to 117 million Americans were members of credit unions, last year. Hence, the appeal for such an institution can be understood. However, as noted by a spokesperson from the Stonewall charity, such services,
“…can address problems LGBT people face in the short term,” but there is a need to change the “wider culture to be inclusive and accepting of all people”, with banks playing a key role.
-As reported by Guardian
Source Credit: Bloomberg, The Guardian, Washington Examiner.