What founders call the first credit union dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community across the country is getting its start in Michigan.
On Monday, the state approved a charter for Superbia Credit Union. Myles Meyers, founder and CEO of New York-based Superbia Services, celebrated the development in a post on LinkedIn that contained a photo of the signing of the executive order to approve the launch of the credit union, noting that it will be the “first financial institution solely dedicated to serve the LGBTQ community across the country.”
Online financial services are expected to be offered in early 2020.
As with many things, the “first” status may be debatable. In 1988, the Dallas Gay Alliance announced the formation of a credit union to serve its membership and the gay community in Dallas. It was believed to be the first credit union at the time serving the gay community.
Superbia said: “The distinction is that we have organized ourselves in such a way to be the first credit union entity that will serve the national community.”
Superbia noted that based on its research, the credit union in Dallas was local, serving a local field of membership. Superbia will “serve a national membership, through its relationship with CLEAR, a national association.”
The Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita G. Fox signed an order approving the creation of Superbia Credit Union on Monday.
Regulators said this is the first new state-chartered, Michigan credit union in more than 33 years.
The credit union organizers have satisfied the initial statutory requirements for creating a state-chartered credit union.
Several additional steps must be taken, including attaining approval from the National Credit Union Administration for federal deposit insurance, before a new credit union would be granted permission to commence business.
“I am pleased that Superbia Credit Union, as a newly state-chartered credit union, is part of the exciting growth of Michigan’s financial services industry,” Fox said in a statement.
“Providing financial access is fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of all Michigan residents. I applaud Superbia Credit Union’s commitment to provide services to the LGBTQ community,” she said.
SuperbiaUSA has been raising money for more than a year to help establish the credit union, including an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
“All funds will be used to demonstrate to regulators the existence and need of the LGBTQ community and be put directly into the business to cover legal and other costs associated with the charter process,” the credit union said last summer when announcing that more than $100,000 had been raised.
“When operational, Superbia Credit Union will benefit members through tailored products and services, more favorable rates, and grants made regularly to organizations that help support and advance causes of the LGBTQ community,” the credit union stated in an earlier release.
“The LGBTQ community as a whole is in need of a strong solution to fight mounting intolerance,” according to a statement made earlier by Meyers.
The credit union also will offer products such as loans for transgender people in the process of transitioning.
The credit union said its goal is to remove “the risk of intolerance and discrimination from the banking experience” and provide equal access to fair, competitively priced products.
The credit union declined to offer specific information about the expected size of the institution, how many workers it might employ in Michigan or what type of offices or operations might be opened in the state.
Superbia stated: “We are proud to work with the state of Michigan and showcase the values of the state to the rest of the country, and we do have operations that are in Michigan. We know that Superbia Credit Union has the potential to require these operations to adjust and hire to keep pace with our growth in the future.”
Superbia added: “We are very mindful of our responsibilities as a financial institution to maintain strong financial health. This translates to controlled growth of our members over a period and allowing our financial strength to grow, and best serve the community.”
Superbia has noted that it is still legal in most states to discriminate against LGBTQ consumers.
“In the same way a bakery can refuse a cake, one bank’s discrimination could lead to higher interest rates on homes, rejection of student loans, judgement on credit for health needs, outdated products and services for LGBTQ individuals and families, and lack of acceptance and understanding among traditional institutions,” Meyers said in a statement.
In June, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan lawmakers kicked off LGBTQ Pride Month by announcing legislation to amend Michigan’s civil rights law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In January, Whitmer signed an executive directive to strengthen prohibitions against LGBTQ discrimination in state employment, contracting and provision of services.