Matthew Smuts, pastor of Grace Lutheran

Church, Palo Alto, Calif., decided to move his family’s money when he learned of unethical management practices by his previous bank. He was impressed with the personal approach of the ELCA’s institution. “I like having a specific person with whom I relate,” he said. “I like that my financial life is being brought into sync with my faith life.” When Laura Hadley, a member of Ebenezer

Lutheran Church, Chicago, realized that her bank had instituted a monthly fee for her checking account, she quickly made plans to close it and move her money into a free ELCA Federal Credit Union checking account. “[I am glad for the] opportunity to put my money in and manage it so that I’m not just giving it away,” she said. Hadley also appreciates the personalized attention she received when establishing her

Left: Laura Hadley (left), a member of the ELCA Federal Credit Union, discusses account options with Marie Lozano, a fi nancial services representative at the credit union. The credit union celebrated its one-year anniversary in June.

Below: Lozano shows Hadley the ATM located in the ELCA Federal Credit Union offi ce in the Lutheran Center, Chicago. Employees and members of ELCA congregations, and employees of ELCA-related ministries are eligible to be credit union members.

accounts and as she has encountered questions. “This is the best experience I’ve had of any bank anywhere,” she said. The credit union boasts loan rates and

interest yields that are impressive for the financial services industry, saying they save members an average of $1,500. “Using the credit union allowed me to get safe

transportation for my family,” said Rhonda Pruitt, a pastor living in Northbrook, Ill. “Not only that, I could rest easy that I was in relationship with a financial institution that wasn’t counting on my failure as a step toward their success.” Pruitt echoed the sense of community and

personal relationship she felt: “When I finally said yes to a vehicle, I felt like I had a whole company cheering me on.”

To learn more about the ELCA Federal Credit Union, go to

Carla Thompson Powell lives in Elk Grove Village, Ill., and serves as pastor of United in Faith Lutheran Church in Chicago.

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Photos: Will Nunnally

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