GLCU was founded on diversity. Our original charter allowed the credit union to serve those enlisting in the military and that were attending Great Lakes Naval Station for their training. Many of these recruits were categorized as minorities or diverse at the time. When GLCU expanded out into the local communities with a community charter, the communities we served were diverse with respect to who resided in them (many were working class communities and very diverse as immigrants settled into
many of these communities for affordable housing and good wages at local factories). As GLCU continued to expand through merger opportunities, we added additional diverse and unique target markets, including teachers, technology, small business owners, rural communities, suburban markets, as well as in downtown Chicago.
As diversity expanded based on our membership, the need to develop products and services continued since our members not only required the traditional financial products and services, but also desired subsets of deposit and loan products to meet their unique needs. At the same time, our employees at the credit union also became a subset of our diverse membership, and the need arose for a wider range of business experience and skills.
Today, GLCU has made a commitment through our DEI program to make sure that DEI is ingrained in our culture, both internally and externally. To support this commitment, GLCU has put in place an expanded DEI program which focuses on both internal and external strategies to drive an overall culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
DEI Training and Development put in place to educate GLCU employees on: cultural differences, unconscious biases, benefits of a diverse workforce, and how we all can become more sensitive to differences. These efforts also provide employees a potential path to advance their careers while employed at Great Lakes Credit Union.
Involve employees to support the DEI program: Engaged employees are a critical piece of creating a more robust DEI program. GLCU DEI ambassadors were identified and formed a committee of diverse employees to enhance and develop DEI strategies in order to meet and exceed our DEI key
measurements. This committee also drives our external DEI strategies and advocates for community partnerships to aid those in our diverse communities via supporting them and their efforts locally.
In addition, in order to emphasize how important the GLCU DEI program is, it has been incorporated into the GLCU scorecard goals & strategies.
Develop and offer diverse products and services to our membership: Just like we do internally, understanding diversity in all of our local markets is important in order to provide enhanced and relevant subsets of our product and service offerings that resonate with our diverse membership. Identifying how to best reach and communicate these offerings is also an important goal.
Targeted community outreach specifically showing GLCU’s support of DEI initiatives within our communities: Identify the best non-for-profit partners based on our DEI program to support financially and through volunteer efforts.
Steps and Methods Used to Achieve Goals:
• Formed a DEI employee committee tasked with:
o Developing training programs that reflect a variety of cultures, backgrounds and experiences
GLCU has representatives of the DEI team taking part in The University of South Florida Muma College of Business Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace Certificate Program.
o Developing and supporting outreach programs to our members, employees and communities
o Ensuring that a variety of perspectives are included in important conversations at GLCU
• Identified and supported community partners and programs that specifically addressed our DEI initiatives:
o Supported the Lake County Crisis Relief Fund
o Administered technical assistance and support for small
businesses in Lake County through the Federal Paycheck Protection Program
o Helped the Lake County Community Foundation launch
their Small Business growth initiative to support businesses owned by women primarily of color
Worked with United Way of Lake County to support school supply drives like “Stuff the Bus”
o Collected coats for the winter clothing drive
o Ongoing volunteering in local schools alongside the United Way
o Ongoing partnering with Habitat of Chicago to conduct
financial and housing educational sessions for participants
in their Affordable Homeownership Program
o Ongoing support of our Housing and Financial Counseling team
1 of 8 Credit Unions in the country that also serves
as a Housing Counseling Agency (HCA) approved
by the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
In FY21, our Housing team served 442 Households
helping to develop budgets, improve credit scores,
gain access to resources, obtain temporary or
permanent housing, buy houses, and avoid mortgage default.
o Recertified with Bank On Chicago! Through the
partnership, assisted underbanked and unbanked
communities throughout the Chicagoland area.
o CEO and President Steve Bugg joined the Lake County
Community Foundation board of directors, a foundation
that helps women and minority owned businesses.
o Lead a Mad City Money event for Zion Benton High
School – a predominantly African American and Latinx
school. Our final session for the day was with 50 ELL
students that did not speak any English. GLCU provided
volunteers that were bilingual to help educate students
on personal finance and budgeting. These students might
not have received the help outside of our simulation.
o Promoted the passage of the Predatory Loan Prevention Act
o Developed a resource guide for Affordable Alternatives to Pay Day Loans
In order to effectively get the message out to our members and the general public, we utilized the following marketing channels:
o Emails highlighting a variety of diverse celebrations
o Newsletter articles
o Employee Intranet announcements and reminders
o Social media posts
• Press Releases highlighting GLCU’s DEI outreach
Companies that excel in a DEI program outperform their competitors in almost every category:
• Ethnically diverse companies financially outperform their peers by 35%
• Companies with a mature diversity program have 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee than their peers
• 67% improved candidate attraction when the candidate considers the company to have a strong diversity program
(*Statistics taken from “Talent, Business, and Competition: A New World of Diversity and Inclusion” Allegis Group)