On Monday the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services approved a request by a company that hopes to offer the first-ever “safe space” credit union for gay people.
“Michigan on Monday approved a charter for the new financial institution designed for LGBT customers, clearing the way for online service to begin early in 2020,” Bloomberg has confirmed. “Superbia Credit Union will offer products which are often outside the scope of a more traditional lender, such as loans for transgender people in the process of transitioning.”
BREAKING NEWS: America’s first gay bank: Credit union for LGBTQ community gets green-light and will offer special loans to transgender people who are transitioning. Superbia Credit Union says there is ‘lack of needs & equal treatment of the LGBTQ being addressed & provided for’.
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) September 10, 2019
Why is a credit union for gay people needed? Because gay people allegedly need a “safe space” to conduct their banking services, according to Democrat Senator Jeremy Moss.
“State law doesn’t protect Michigan’s LGBTQ community from discrimination in the workplace and public accommodations,” he said in a statement to The Oakland Press. “It’s burdensome that gay and trans Michiganders must depend on private businesses to take it upon themselves to provide equal treatment to employees and consumers.”
“Fortunately, many LGBTQ business owners and entrepreneurs have stepped up to specifically cater to the needs of our community, and I’m especially excited to welcome in Superbia Credit Union to Michigan as a safe space to bank and obtain lines of credit without fear of discrimination,” he added.
It’s unclear what he defines as “discrimination.”
What’s known is that loan approvals are based in large part on one’s income and credit score. And it just so happens that the transgender community is teeming with poverty.
A 2015 study conducted by the National Center on Transgender Equality found that transgender Americans are in fact twice as likely to be living in poverty than the rest of the population.
Myles Meyers, the founder of the New York-based credit union, issued his own statement that seemed to better clarify the discrimination matter.
“I can walk into a bank or credit union and apply for a loan or credit card or savings accounts and frankly, no problem,” he said to Bloomberg. “If I walked in to the same institution with my husband, we can come across different responses and welcome. And this is where it all starts to change for the community.”
While a study published earlier this year found that gay borrowers were 73 percent more likely to be denied a mortgage — though it’s not proven that this disparity is caused by discrimination — anti-LGBT discrimination has already been banned in the United States.
In a 2016 ruling, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau declared that the 1974 Equal Credit Opportunity Act would henceforth also encompass sexual orientation and gender identity.
“This guidance effectively prohibits creditors like banks, retailers, credit card companies, finance companies, and credit unions from engaging in anti-LGBTQ discrimination,” Slate noted at the time.
The piece was titled: “The Federal Government Just Outlawed LGBTQ Discrimination in Credit.”
“The LGBTQ community is strong and persistent,” Meyers added in a statement to The Oakland Press. “We’ve been working with, and will continue to work with, the community to improve economic equality by removing the risks of intolerance and discrimination in banking services that continue to plague the community in different forms.”
“We are extremely appreciative to the Michigan DIFS for its efforts on our application and the signing of the executive order to form Superbia Credit Union,” the statement continued.
The only thing that remains unclear is whether Superbia Credit Union will also serve heterosexual customers. A headline by Fortune magazine, “First Gay Credit Union Given Green Light to Prioritize LGBTQ Customers,” suggests it will, though it’ll apparently prioritize the banking concerns of the LGBT community over those of non-gay customers.
Nevertheless, this sort of separation of services — or outright segregation, in some cases — has become more commonplace among “minority” groups.
Back in 2015, for example, officials at the University of Oklahoma announced a plan to build a genuinely segregated study lounge designed to be used exclusively by gay students.
“It’s going to be huge,” one student said enthusiastically to the school newspaper at the time. “I think it’s going to be used for a number of things. One, to have a sense of community, something that LGBTQ students have never had before.”
“To provide LGBTQQIA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer, questioning, intersex, allies) teachers, students and families a safe and fun learning environment, free of homophobia and transphobia — a place that honors their identities so they can be themselves, find themselves, and find friends and mentors who can help them navigate the challenges of life and education,” the mission statement for the school seen above reads.
Regarding Superbia, it’s slated to open in 2020.
“With the charter in place, Superbia will form a board and begin hiring executives. In addition to the credit union, Superbia Services plans to expand into products such as insurance, health care and wealth management specifically designed for LGBT customers,” Bloomberg reported.