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The credit union will immediately offer Individual Taxpayer Identification Number lending in Washington County.

PMG FILE PHOTO - Wauna Credit Union will immediately offer Individual Taxpayer Identification Number lending to Hispanic communities in Washington County.

Wauna Credit Union is now offering non-citizen lending to Hispanic communities in Washington County, and specifically Forest Grove.

In an announcement on April 1, the credit union said it will immediately offer Individual Taxpayer Identification Number lending. This enables ITIN holders to acquire auto loans, credit cards, insurance and banking services.

The credit union said the move brings relief for the lack of federal stimulus and financial assistance available for the local Hispanic and Latino communities.

"We hold ourselves daily to our vision and mission," said Frank Elizondo-Alcala, community outreach officer at Wauna Credit Union. "ITIN lending gives us the ability to truly service the underserved in our communities and footprint."

Michael Murdoch, spokesperson with the credit union, said that many ITIN holders do not turn to traditional financial institutions for loans because they fear they don't quality for these services, and the institutions do not seek out these individuals because they perceive them to be too challenging or risky to serve.

As a result, many immigrant populations often rely on overpriced loans from predatory lenders, added Murdoch.

"The ITIN lending program provides critical financial services for our Hispanic/Latino members and our communities and we look forward to sharing these benefits for years to come," said Wauna Credit Union's chief financial officer and president, Robert Blumberg.

ITIN lending is available at all Wauna Credit Union locations and can be arranged by appointment with WCU's bilingual member consultants.

Wauna Credit Union branches are located in Forest Grove, Vernonia, Scappoose, St. Helens, Astoria, Warrenton, and Long Beach, Washington.

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