A trio of credit unions have launched a unique program in New Mexico designed to help survivors of domestic violence find their financial footing when leaving their abusers.
CU SAFE, a partnership among U.S. Eagle Federal Credit Union, Rio Grande Credit Union and Coast360 Federal Credit Union in Guam, began operating in New Mexico at the end of August.
The program is designed to pair survivors who are referred from the Domestic Violence Resource Center in Albuquerque with one of the credit unions. The credit unions provide financial literacy assistance as well as specialized loans tailored to help people without a stable job or credit get on their feet.
“They’re getting the financial resources to get out of their situation,” said Walt Agius, CEO of CU SAFE.
Agius and others credited Pamelya Herndon, a board member at U.S. Eagle, with coming up with the idea. Herndon told the Journal that she’s seen a tremendous need for a service like this in New Mexico, which routinely ranks among the worst states in the country for reported domestic violence incidents.
Agius added that abusers frequently cut off their victims from accessing financial resources, meaning that people who flee their abusers often lack the ability to get a stable job or build credit. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says financial restrictions are one reason some survivors stay with their abusers.