How Labor Credit Union Is Creating Opportunities and Expanding Its Impact with Dora Financial

How Labor Credit Union Is Creating Opportunities and Expanding Its Impact with Dora Financial

Thomas Domingue is passionate about opportunities. More specifically, the CEO of Labor Credit Union is passionate about creating opportunities for those around him.
It’s a personal mantra that Thomas has woven through his professional journey, which, prior to joining Labor Credit Union, included 13 years working for various multibillion-dollar credit unions. Unsurprisingly, when Thomas joined Labor Credit Union in January 2020, he brought his personal mantra with him. For a credit union that’s been creating opportunities in its community for nearly 90 years, it’s been a perfect match.

Department of Labor Credit Union, better known as Labor Credit Union, was founded in 1935 to serve employees, retirees, and immediate families of The United States Department of Labor, including partnered organizations. Since its inception, the credit union’s roots have been firmly planted in the labor movement. In addition to offering its members a full suite of banking services, Labor Credit Union remains as committed to worker rights, financial literacy, and economic empowerment as it was when it was first established.

When Thomas joined Labor Credit Union, he was one of 18 employees. Six months later, however, that number grew to 19 when the credit union hired Hina Khalid as its CFO. Prior to entering the credit union world, Hina’s 19 years of career journey took her through various financial services institutions and roles in energy, broadband and economic development. Upon joining Labor Credit Union, her goal was to leverage her diverse professional experiences into forging innovative and strategic partnerships that would help the credit union to further its mission.

One such partnership began in 2023, when Hina attended a DEI event at CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC) in 2023. That’s where she learned about Dora Financial, a marketing and innovation credit union service organization (CUSO). Dora was founded by USALLIANCE Financial in 2021 as a bilingual neobank to serve the 50 million Americans currently not participating in mainstream banking. Dora’s app allows users to perform a range of financial transactions, including direct deposit, mobile check deposits, and bill pay in both Spanish and English. Dora charges no monthly fees and it doesn’t require a minimum balance. Additionally, Dora’s users have access to a surcharge-free network of more than 30,000 ATMs across the country. “I found Dora’s mission and what they’re trying to achieve to be very much aligned with our mission to reach underserved communities,” Hina said, “and I was impressed to hear the impact that Dora is making.” As of December 2023, nearly 7,000 individuals had opened accounts with Dora.

Hina pitched Dora to Thomas, who bought in right away. Labor Credit Union’s CEO was particularly interested in Dora’s willingness to connect with individuals who’ve been traditionally shut out of mainstream banking and to provide them with key financial services. “We’d been talking about serving underserved and underbanked demographics for a long time,” he said. “These demographics need financial services, but most banks won’t touch them, so this was a partnership that we really needed to pursue. It was important for us to put our money where our mouth is.”

Within a few months, Thomas, Hina, and Amber Mooney (VP of Member Experience), the Executive Team of Labor Credit Union, completed their due diligence and got their board’s approval to become a funding sponsor of Dora Financial, joining Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, Digital Federal Credit Union, Inclusiv, Service Federal Credit Union, and USALLIANCE Financial. Not only is each of Dora’s six funding sponsors trying to bridge the economic gap that exists for those who do not have access to banking, but they also all bring a wealth of experience to the table. For example, members of each institution, including Hina, sit on Dora’s board and provide guidance
on how to continue to grow the CUSO.

Those board members also advise Dora on how to achieve its goal to help people find a pathway to credit union membership, which is something that Thomas feels strongly about. According to him, Dora has the potential to help rebuild trust between underserved populations and mainstream financial institutions. One way that trust can be established is through financial coaching—something all Dora users can freely access. “Credit unions really excel at building relationships and making an impact,” he said. “Through Dora, we are able to directly help more individuals, improve and enhance their financial position, and achieve their long-term financial goals.”

For Labor Credit Union, however, its involvement with Dora isn’t about growing its membership: it’s about achieving its own long-term goals. Although Thomas and Hina’s 10-year vision for the credit union includes growing its membership numbers, increasing its assets, and expanding its footprint into new markets, those metrics are stepping stones toward Labor Credit Union’s ultimate objective: to have an impact and help people achieve financial success in as many communities as possible. Amber Mooney and her fully vested member engagement team also find this partnership to be directly aligned with their holistic approach towards serving the community. Her marketing team is also eager to partner with CNote’s Impact Cash® platform to help reach and support underserved communities.

That, in part, is what led Labor Credit Union to create its own foundation, which spearheads the institution’s community outreach efforts. Labor Community Foundation aims to cultivate creative economic solutions and develop collaborative educational resources for its membership, through initiatives like scholarship programs and internship opportunities. “Everybody works hard,” said Thomas. “If we can be their partner to help show them how to leverage their hard-earned money into financial well-being, that’s what we want, because then, we’re able to make impacts not just in individual lives, but in households, families, and communities nationwide.” “Our whole team is very much aligned with Thomas’ vision of creating opportunities for others,” Hina added. “Whether through Dora or our foundation, we want to create opportunities for underserved and underbanked communities throughout the country in every way that we can. We want to be the credit union that’s making a difference.

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