Better Banking: Elevating Equity and Inclusivity in Banking

How banks and credit unions are prioritizing the financial needs of the LGBTQ+ community

New data from the Human Rights Campaign Fund finds that the LGBTQ+ community continues to face financial challenges at much higher rates than other cohorts. Nearly half of LGBTQ+ adults report being “financially unwell,” compared to 25% of the general public. Even more, three in ten of LGBTQ+ adults say they’ve experienced discrimination in accessing financial services. “LGBTQ+ individuals face unique economic challenges and setbacks, often grappling with poverty at a disproportionate rate compared to their non-LGBTQ+ peers,” according to the LGBTQ+ Financial Wellness Report. So, how are financial institutions stepping up with solutions?

Citizens Bank does more than show support for Pride in June. “As a bank, Citizens has a unique opportunity to build up and support the communities we’re a part of – not just financially, but also by showing up in multiple ways for our colleagues, customers and communities,” according to Celebrating Pride 365. The bank fosters a welcoming workplace, promoting inclusion of LGBTQ+ colleagues. For customers, the bank promotes financial fairness through products and policies. “At Citizens, we are committed to valuing uniqueness, building belonging and making fair decisions both inside the organization and in the wider community, as well.”

LGBTQ+ representation of staff is essential for inclusive banking experiences. “There’s a level of cultural competency needed to understand the concerns of LGBTQ+ individuals,” according to Bankrate’s LGBTQ+ friendly banking. “Challenges related to legal name changes, transitioning expenses or estate planning” are just a few unique needs. In Banking With Pride: Fostering a More Inclusive Environment Throughout the Year, Adrenaline’s Sarah Cenedella says, “From hiring and employment to lending and account opening, inclusive training programs and policies underscore an institution’s commitment to prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”

From its founding, Element Federal Credit Union has done more than simply welcome in the LGBTQ+ community. The West Virginia cooperative walks the walk with #BankingWithPride, which empowers members to “create custom LGBTQ Banking solutions” to fit their needs from accessible lending to personalized savings. The bank not only permits the use of a member’s chosen name and pronouns, but also allows members to directly support local LGBTQ+ and Pride organizations with its #SwipeForGood program. The credit union says, “If coming out was easier than dealing with your bank, it’s time to make the switch to Element.”

If you’re a banking leader looking for ways to better authentically connect with customers and communities, get in touch with the financial industry experts at Adrenaline. And, don’t forget to subscribe to Believe in Banking to stay up to date with the latest news impacting the banking and credit union industries.