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W 34 AUGUST 2017


HEN BANKING BECOMES A MINISTRY By Carla Thompson Powell “O, prosper the work of our hands.” Psalm 90:17


seeks God’s blessings on the fruits of our labor. In today’s financial climate, the fruits of our labor often go toward bank fees. Many wish to be better stewards and choose financial institutions they trust. Some are finding that at the ELCA Federal Credit Union. The ELCA’s credit union opened in June 2016 at


its office in the Lutheran Center, Chicago, though membership and customer service is available to people living anywhere. Credit unions are nonprofit institutions


owned by their members. They can often keep fees lower and offer better rates because of their nonprofit status. Employees and members of ELCA congregations, and employees of ELCA-related ministries are eligible to become members and open accounts. Kyle Severson, pastor of St. Philip Lutheran


Church, Glenview, Ill., said banking with the ELCA’s credit union was an intentional choice:


“We like to put our money where our mouth is, so to speak, and we felt this was a way we could save for our goals in a more faithful way.” Severson also appreciated the lower fees and the


fact that their funds would also help other ELCA members. Ultimately, the credit union offered “most of the benefits we need for our purposes [like] direct deposit and mobile check deposit,” he said. Someone can become a member by opening a


savings account with a minimum of $25. After that, members can access additional financial services, including auto loans, personal loans, credit cards and checking accounts with a large network of surcharge-free ATMs. Luis Reyes, vice president and chief operations


officer of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, said what sets it apart from other financial institutions is a “human-focused approach.” Each member application is looked at individually so personalized solutions can be found.


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