Banking Alternatives

AARP Foundation MySavingsJar

Pay Yourself. Gain Financial Peace of Mind.

AARP Foundation MySavingsJar™ is an online resource that helps move from financial stress to financial freedom.  It gets you in the right frame of mind to save, so you can spend on what you want when you want.

AARP Foundation MySavingsJar™ is a self-help tool that provides you with practical know-how and community support to build financial confidence over time.  It helps you build short-term savings and put you on a path toward achieving the financial future you want.

Go to and register for free on any personal device, including a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer.  As part of the registration, you will be guided through a friendly process and receive a personalized ‘dashboard,’ where you can complete fun community challenges, set goals and take advantage of numerous resources, in your community.  Read more here>

Express Credit Union – It’s Electric!

Express Credit Union wants their members to love them too. Check out their updates below to catch up on Express’ webinars, events, and electric vehicle news. Read more here>

EVs for Everyone

Check out this video courtesy of Plug in America, where you can listen to Marc Geller speak about buying a used EV. He’ll also take you on a virtual test drive in his Tesla! You can also watch Plug in America’s video about the Chevy Bolt by clicking here>

Northwest Access Fund Resilience Loans

Many individuals in our region have lost income or employment as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Northwest Access Fund wants to let you know about a new loan product they have launched that is available to those who have been impacted. The loan is available to people with a disability of any type and people who live in a household with a person with a disability.

Loan Amount: Up to $3,000
Loan Term: Up to 3 years
Interest Rate: 0% with no fees

Resilience Loans can be used to cover basic necessities such as rent, utilities, childcare, food security, and/or caregiving, and there will be no repayments due for the first three months. Some income limits apply, and all applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Learn more>

Lending Circles

What is a lending circle? A lending circle is a zero-interest and zero-fee social loan that helps to establish or improve credit history and score. It can also serve as a savings vehicle for those who are motivated by deadlines or by working with their peers.

How does a lending circle work? A group of people meet and agree to contribute to a fund monthly. Each month a different member receives the money in the fund for his or her use. The lending circle is complete when each participant has accessed the monthly fund. In this way, every member of a lending circle is both a borrower and a lender.

El Centro de la Raza’s Lending Circles are open to anyone 18 years and older. Those interested in participating should:

  • Attend one of the regularly scheduled informational meetings where they can ask questions and learn more about the program.
  • Schedule a one-on-one intake appointment in which they will work with a counselor to decide if lending circles are a good fit for them and to which they will be asked to bring:
    1. A government-issued photo ID such as a driver’s license, passport, or consular ID
    2. Recent proof of income for one month (e.g., pay stubs, profit, and loss statement)
    3. Recent monthly bank statements for all accounts
    4. A voided check
    5. A social security number or ITIN
  • Attend a formation meeting to create a lending circle and determine the monthly contribution amount and the monthly disbursal by group consensus.
  • All participants are strongly encouraged to attend a Bank On-certified eight-hour financial education series.

Lending circles are available in English and Spanish.

For more information send an email to

Saving for Retirement Matters

Washington’s Small Business Retirement Marketplace, operated by the Department of Commerce, is a virtual portal where qualified financial service firms will offer low-cost retirement savings plans to businesses with less than 100 employees, including sole proprietors and self-employed individuals.  Their goal is to increase Washingtonians’ retirement savings by making it easier and less costly for smaller employers to provide retirement savings options to their employees. Learn more>

Save to Win

With Save to Win, every $25 you put into a share certificate at a participating credit union is another chance to win and save. In the end, you’ll at the very least walk away with your savings, plus interest. You could even end up winning $5,000. That’s what Save to Win is all about!  Learn more>

Small Dollar Loans: An Affordable Alternative

BECU, Key Bank and Express Credit Union offer small-dollar loans that will work with you to break the payday lending cycle. Amounts of the loan and conditions vary, so check out the features of each by reviewing the bank or credit union website before deciding which one works for you!