United Bay Community Credit Union has been on an extensive journey toward gaining understanding of the elements of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Accessibility, culminating with earning its DEIBA Certification from CU Strategic Planning.
“Becoming a DEIBA Certified Credit Union was not only about pursuing excellence for the benefit of our employees and community, but also about the journey to get us here,” Leslie Webb, vice president of people and strategy at United Bay Community CU, explained. “DEIBA certification is a 12-month program, under the guidance of CU Strategic Planning, that enabled us to develop stronger competencies in these areas, to have tough conversations, to learn about the marginalized and oppressed and the history of financial inequity, as well as the role financial institutions have played in our modern-day inequities.”
The DEIBA Certification Program focused on professional development for United Bay’s senior leadership team. In addition to the credit union-wide Harvard Implicit Association Assessment, which looked at bias related to race, gender/career, disability and sexuality. Leadership is also assessed on age, weight, and skin tone. Results are collected anonymously and analyzed in aggregate.
The credit union team, with guidance from CU Strategic Planning co-owner and head of the DEIBA program Ronaldo Hardy, conducted a thorough review of policies, procedures, recruiting and promotion, disciplinary practices and lending, providing the needed oversight to structure a strong DEIBA strategy.
The program focused on educational sessions that initiated conversations about the credit union’s experiences and its social values and beliefs, which provided discovery on topics ranging from financial inequities to financial inclusion to poverty to the paths for eradicating it.
United Bay Community CU plans to continue its journey with a credit union-wide a series of sessions, role playing and working to maintaining a strong DEIBA culture.
“Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging and Accessibility are more than buzzwords, and Leslie and the entire team at United Bay are living proof,” CU Strategic Planning Chief People Officer Ronaldo Hardy shared. “The concepts and values behind DEIBA are critical to a healthy, flourishing credit union and productive, engaged workforce. We’re very proud of the work United Bay has done, and we can’t wait to observe as the team continues to progress through their collective journey.”
United Bay Community CU CEO Diane Abbonizio added, “I’m so grateful Leslie took on this initiative. It’s more than an acronym; it’s about culture. It’s about the heartbeat – the core of what we want to attract. We say we’re serving heartbeats.”
The credit union has put plans in place to serve even more heartbeats to fulfill its role in bridging the wealth gap and support marginalized communities. Webb said that having a more open-minded staff – one of the credit union’s core values – will help the team to better serve its increasingly diverse membership as the credit union expands into financial deserts where others have abandoned.