SCARBOROUGH — The continued growth of new Mainers was behind training sessions on the financial services needs of the immigrant community. Town & Country FCU, in partnership with ProsperityME, held the sessions to help staff to better understand and provide financial services to this growing population. Claude Rwaganje, executive director of ProsperityME, presented two sessions recently, to Town & Country FCU staff at the credit union’s Operations Center in Scarborough.
“We have a long history of providing immigrants with financial services but, as we grow and welcome new staff, educating them on the unique challenges, obstacles and needs around financial services that asylum seekers and immigrants face has taken on added importance. In light of recent events, the timing of this training is critical, and will be helpful as we look for ways we can support and serve people that speak different languages, and have different life experiences with financial services,” said David Libby, president and CEO of Town and Country FCU.
Through this training, our branch managers and frontline staff will be better equipped to provide financial services to the immigrant population. It was invaluable for our staff to hear about what we can do to work with new Mainers to meet their financial services’ needs. We will continue to be proactive in exploring new and creative ways that we can provide financial services to the immigrant community.”
Jon Paradise, vice president of Public Relations and Communications at Town & Country FCU, who also serves on the Board of ProsperityME and has for a number of years, said, “Claude’s experience as an immigrant himself from a country that had a cash-based economy to a country with a bank-based system is invaluable to help our staff understand how we can help. He knows what they are going through, and can help give our staff more tools and resources to remove barriers when it comes to providing financial services to immigrants.”
Rwaganje said building trust “is a critical piece of creating relationships with new Mainers. Many of these people are coming from countries where a financial institution was not to be trusted and they bring those preconceptions with them. That’s when outreach, financial counseling and coaching can play such an important role in helping to connect with new Mainers. Understanding a client’s needs and values can go a long way to building a lasting relationship.”
In addition to the financial services training, the credit union has also spent time volunteering at Wayside Soup Kitchen to prepare meals being served to asylum seekers at the Expo. “Our commitment to helping the community is who we are and what we do. I’m proud of our staff for stepping up and looking for ways we can help,” said Libby.
About Town & Country Federal Credit Union
As Maine’s second largest credit union with nearly 40,000 members, Town & Country is a full-service financial institution offering a wide range of financial products and services to people who live, work, go to school or worship in Cumberland and York Counties. Designated as one of Maine’s ‘Best Places to Work’ for the past seven years, the credit union has $399 million in assets, and is part of the second largest branch network in the country. To learn more, visit tcfcu.com.