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Q&A Financial Wellness: With Luis Soto, Vice President of Marketing and Financial Inclusion

We often hear about the term “wellness” when discussing physical health, mental health, and nutrition. But what does wellness mean regarding our personal finances? Luis Soto, Vice President of Marketing and Financial Inclusion, discusses the importance of financial wellness and what Vantage West is doing to help improve the financial wellness of our Members, team members, and community.

1. What is financial wellness?

Financial wellness is the ability to manage your finances to not only cover your everyday expenses, but also save for retirement, and have emergency savings and discretionary spending funds. While this may seem unattainable, it is possible, and our team members are dedicated to helping our Members reach financial wellness.

2. How does a credit union like Vantage West handle the financial wellness of its Members differently from a traditional bank?

Because traditional banks are for-profit companies, they tend to prioritize sales and income above their clients. As a not-for-profit cooperative, we put our Members’ interests first, and we can prioritize their well-being over profits. At Vantage West, we will not offer our Members a product or service they do not need or cannot afford. In addition, we work with our Members to ensure they are building a financial foundation to help them achieve their long-term goals, not meet the company’s sales quota, like Big Banks do.

3. Why is the financial wellness of its Members important to Vantage West? 

At Vantage West, our purpose is to invest in people today for a more prosperous tomorrow. By “people,” we refer to our Members, team members, and the communities we serve. Helping our Members achieve financial wellness will ensure they are setting themselves up for a more prosperous future and in turn, Vantage West can stay true to our purpose.

4. What are some of the most important financial wellness challenges facing Vantage West Members today?

77% of Americans feel anxious about their financial situation, as reported by CNBC in 2022. There are several challenges causing this widespread financial anxiety, including lack of assets, insufficient income, high debt, and money management challenges. Vantage West is committed to working with our Members to address those areas where we can provide financial coaching, and with our Members’ diligence, help them build their financial skills and confidence to leave financial anxiety behind.

5. How does Vantage West practice financial wellness as an organization?

We believe we need to practice what we preach, which is why we invest in our team members’ financial wellness and education. Our team members have access to financial education, fraud prevention training, and money management tools to ensure they know how to take care of themselves before helping our Members.

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