“What does gay money look like? Not surprisingly, it looks a lot like money. Gay money happens to be the same as non-gay money. So why can financial institutions in America still be allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity?”
So asks the welcome video that explains Superbia, the first explicitly gay credit union. I’ve been waffling on dumping my money out of a large corporate bank and into a credit union for a long time; credit unions exist to serve their members and are, in fact, owned by said members, so profits from it go right back to those with accounts at the institution. Credit unions are by and large not funding things like the Dakota Access Pipeline. They keep money local and decentralized. In short, credit unions are bomb. But my problem is that I haven’t found one I’m in love with yet.
My face went totally heart-eyes-emoji when I got the press release about Superbia. Explicitly for the queers and our allies, this sucker will not only function like a normal credit union would, but it will also pour 30% of its profits back into community organizations. And they’ll do this by making sure you aren’t refused service at your goddamn financial institution, a thing that still happens despite the fact that it is 2018. The promotional material cites a bunch of studies proving that queers undergo financial discrimination, but I know I don’t have to explain that here. Because we’ve all felt it. We’re all keenly aware of the subtle-yet-pervasive sense of economic dread, and some of us may have experienced outright hostility when applying for loans, for instance, or trying to open a business.
Founder Myles Meyers (epic name!) is keenly aware that our financial needs as a community are unique. From the press release:
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could lead to higher interest rates on homes, rejection of student loans, judgement on credit for health needs, outdated products and services for LGBTQ individuals and families, and lack of acceptance and understanding among traditional institutions. Twenty-nine states currently have no anti-discrimination laws in place, meaning sexual orientation or gender identity may be considered in accessing credit. “Our families, lives and financial journeys are not necessarily the same as those of other communities,” shares Meyers. “The products we need and how we are communicated to should reflect our community, using our values, as we determine.”
The credit union’s tech will be powered by CU*Answers and the credit and debit cards will be Mastercards. They’ve got it all planned out and they’re ready and raring to go. Their next step is raising funds to set up the credit union, which they’re doing on Indiegogo. Now I normally do not, under any circumstances, write about a fundraiser. But truly, honestly, my need for you all to know this exists comes from one place deep in my very soul: the place that wants to give my money to my fellow queers. I make a lot of decisions with my money to keep it in the fam. I love to pay queers. Love love love it. And essentially that is what being a member of the gay credit union would be: paying queers. Members vote on what organizations get our money as members; and if members need a service that isn’t being provided, they ask for it and are actually taken seriously. Superbia is already partnered with Stonewall Community Foundation to administer grants to LGBTQ organizations. If all goes well, this will be up and running by Fall 2018.
Decentralizing money and orienting it toward community is one decision that individuals can actually make that disrupts some of the unfettered power that large corporations have in this crazy, crazy world of our own making. In summary, here are the bare bones bullet points of what this financial institution will be all about. From their Indiegogo page:
- Remove the risk of discrimination that members of the LGBTQ community can still encounter at traditional institutions
- Provide unfettered access to tailored financial products and services
- Harness the power of our diverse and activated community to provide equal economic opportunity and support to our community.
Superbia will serve its members in three important ways
- Provide fair, non-discriminatory and unique products, services and treatment that honors the unique needs of the LGBTQ community.
- Put profits back into Superbia to offer better saving and lending rates, and other improved services to our members
- Awarding up to 30% of remaining annual profit to directly fund LGBTQ organizations, causes and community needs.
If this sounds good to you, consider heading over to Indiegogo (where, if you’ll recall, we raised funds for our massive redesign back in 2012, so yay Indiegogo!) and consider making a contribution to the founding of Superbia. And since it’ll be Mastercards, I’ll close with the following:
Minimum contribution? $50
Special Founder’s Edition Mastercard? $250
Having a bank that helps sustain the community and gets your pronouns right? Priceless.