Headshot of Veronica

Two Generations of Financial Literacy Through Co-op Capital Loans

In Blog by Pilar

Headshot of Veronica

Economic independence and cultivating generational wealth is crucial for Latina women. Veronica Avalos, originally from Mexico, now an Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors (AP/OD) facilitator, decided to take her finances into her own hands.

She applied for the Nusenda Co-op Capital Loan through Partnership for Community Action (PCA) so she could begin building credit and make sure her family is well versed in financial literacy. Avalos has four children and two nieces who she wants to ensure are successful in their futures and careers. 

After the family car broke down, Avalos decided to apply for the loan. Unreliable transportation began to affect their livelihood as she had many people in her household relying on getting to school, work, and her own work as an AP/OD facilitator. Avalos would have AP/OD sessions or events that she would want to go set up info tables at and could not go. It was becoming an increasing burden to not have transportation for her family.

Veronica with her two children in front of the family car

Avalos and two of her sons standing in front of the car she used the Co-op Capital Loan for.

Being an AP/OD facilitator is extremely important to Avalos. She says, “If I would have known about programs and resources like this, my life would have been different. The education my children would have had would have been different.” She was motivated to apply for the loan when she realized how important it was for her to facilitate classes for her community so that they could have the tools to be excellent parents and support their families. 

The Nusenda Co-op Capital Loan is a community circle micro-lending program that assists local entrepreneurs up to $10,000. The Co-op Capital program is based on the trusted relationships with over 20 local partners, including PCA. The program has been called “the alternative to the alternatives” as it does not require credit, collateral, or status. Instead, it relies on the community organizations and nonprofits to make the loan applicant decisions based on character, goals, and determination, creating a fair and accessible loan for entrepreneurs.

With support from PCA, Avalos applied twice to the program on two different occasions, being approved both times. The first to fix up her car, and the second when her car was stolen. Many families have trouble accessing transportation. Due to the nature of living in Albuquerque, reliable transportation is a necessity to get to school, work, and run errands to ensure a family’s wellbeing.

Veronica's child getting into the family car

Avalos’ son getting ready for school.

The Nusenda Co-op Capital Loan continues to be an extremely successful program. Studies have shown that “loan repayment rates are higher than the industry average — 99 percent of borrowers pay off their loans on schedule.” The program loaned $580,149 in 2023 and over $5 million since its inception.The loan has also been shown to encourage immigrants and people of color, with 29% of borrowers located on tribal land and over 25% of loans going to immigrant entrepreneurs.

Cultivating generational wealth and making sure that her children are versed in financial literacy is something that Avalos wants to focus on. After applying to the loan, Avalos connected her 18-year-old daughter with the program and helped her apply for a credit card. She says, “With PCA’s classes, I have learned how to maintain a good credit, and how to make it better.”  She felt more comfortable talking to her daughter about the advantages of having good credit.

Avalos wants to ensure that she passes on the importance of planning for unexpected costs, along with the benefits of financial security to her children. She says, “I tell my children, what if something happens? What if your dad gets sick and we still have to pay rent? That’s why we have savings or a credit card we can use, and we know how to use it.” 

Latina women play a major role in the workforce making up 16% of the women labor force. With that number expected to grow, their financial successes are crucial for robust economic growth. And with community members like Avalos, who help to create bright, healthy financial futures through her own children and work, we can all look forward to even more vibrant and healthy communities in the near future and for generations to come. She says, “I am proud to tell my story, and I think all of our stories are important.”