To the Amplify Community,
As a mission-driven organization, we know many members, employees and partners choose us based on our values. We'd like to take this moment to share more about one value we feel is particularly timely: that Black lives matter, and that Amplify has a role in making that a reality for our citizens.
We have spent these past few weeks listening to local and industry leaders as they discuss the challenges our Black communities face across the country. Many in our membership and our community will never know the experience of being discriminated against based on the color of our skin. However, we cannot claim to be working towards a safe community for all while ignoring that a segment of our population faces a valid fear for their personal safety at the hands of those sworn to protect us. Stating that doesn’t mean we value others’ lives less - it means we recognize that Black Americans’ fears are real and unique, and they must be addressed if we hope to retain faith in our law enforcement partners.
We have also spent this time reflecting on what we can contribute going forward. While the conversations in our community are about far more than inclusiveness, that doesn’t mean we can’t let them inspire us to make faster progress toward those initiatives in our industry. The Credit Union National Association took a significant step in that direction last year when it added diversity, equity and inclusion as a cooperative principle. In doing so, it made these principles part of the very foundation of our collective identity as credit unions.
That addition was significant, but much work remains. The growing divide between Black and White homeownership has increased to its highest level in 50 years. Studies have also found that Black-owned small businesses stand “close to no chance” of collecting vital COVID-19 relief funds, resulting in a 41% decline in Black-owned businesses since February. This is a devastating loss for the long-term health of our communities, and as a financial institution, we are in a unique position to help.
This means developing new review processes to make sure our homeowner and small business loans are accessible to diverse communities. This also means prioritizing the recruitment of a diverse workforce that better reflects the communities we serve and ensuring people of color have a voice in our decisions. These will be our priorities going forward, and like any business priority, we will define our desired outcomes in explicit terms and report our progress toward achieving them.
These are hard conversations, but we appreciate our members’ willingness to approach them with openness and empathy. You have the right to know where we stand. You also have the right to make your own voice heard. Words are nice, but actions are better, and we ask that you, our members, hold us accountable.
We appreciate your support and look forward to continuing the conversation.
Willie Everett, Chairman of the Board
Kendall Garrison, Chief Executive Officer
If you would like to share your thoughts on this or any other matter with Amplify Credit Union's leadership team, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.