Women's Southwest Federal Credit Union
Post Office Box 720207, Dallas TX 75372
Tel. (214) 887-0700
IRENE MERCADO WOMEN'S SCHOLARSHIP INFORMATION:
SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED IN 2012 WAS FOR $600. Click
THE SCHOLARSHIP AWARDED IN 2013 WILL BE FOR $600
Application Submission Dates: mail in time
for your application to arrive from May 1, 2013
through August 31, 2013.
attn: Women's Scholarship
Women's Southwest FCU
PO Box 720207
Dallas TX 75372
Life Before the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA): Until the 1970s, some
lenders engaged in credit discrimination. Sometimes it was blatant. Some Loan Officers
denied applicants on the basis of age, gender, marital status, race, national origin, receipt
of public assistance, disability, and other “reasons”—and got away with it.
Frustration with this prejudicial system prompted many organizations—including
feminist groups that supported equal rights for women and men--to open their own
financial institutions. Ours opened in 1974. California Feminist, the CU that merged
with us on 12/31/09, opened in 1975. That same year, Congress passed the
ECOA; they phased it in through mid-1977.
As the law went into effect, some applicants experienced a “Catch-22”:
because of past rejections, their credit reports did not reflect their reliability. They were
turned down for “insufficient credit”.
When we first opened we found ways to help women avoid this problem. If an
applicant had no history with the credit bureaus, we took the time to contact doctors,
dentists, furniture stores, and property managers. We sent form letters to find out how
well applicants handled their checking accounts. We counted income from Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) (now TANF) and food stamps. Nowadays,
for most of our loans, we check with credit bureaus. But we still offer 3 kinds of loans,
approved automatically, to help applicants establish or improve their credit scores.
Who Is Irene Mercado? Irene applied for her first loan from California Feminist* in
1976. She described herself as “an unemployed Welfare Mom” attending San Diego
State University (SDSU)’s Master’s Program. She requested funds for badly needed
car repairs. Cal Feminist, then one of our sister credit unions, was the first lender to
report a loan in her name to a credit bureau. Without repairs to her van, she’d have
been unable to take her children to childcare and make it to class on time.
She obtained her degree and became a professor of mathematics. She was able
to support her children and put her daughter through UCLA.
She never forgot. In 2001, before moving away from San Diego, Ms. Mercado
stopped by Cal Feminist's office to give them a $100 contribution! That became the seed
money for the scholarship fund they named after her.
Contributions to the Fund: Dozens of Cal Feminist & Women's Southwest members
mailed one-time or occasional contributions. Others have asked us to transfer all or part of their quarterly
dividends out of their shares on a one-time basis or on a regular basis. To contribute--or
sign up to contribute a portion of your dividends--click here.
Because Women's Southwest underwrites all administrative costs, 100% of contributions are
available to Scholarship winners.
How often do we award a scholarship? One per year.
Who may apply for the award?
--Daughters, nieces, granddaughters, sisters, mothers, and grand
mothers of women and men who are WSFCU members-in-good-standing.
A member in good standing is the primary owner of a WSFCU share
(savings) account with a minimum balance of $25.
----Women who are members-in-good-standing of WSFCU. No minimum
length of membership is required before you apply. The woman who applies
may be a resident of any of the 50 states or Washington, DC. No minimum
length of Women's Southwest FCU membership is required before applying.
To apply for membership, Click here.
Ineligible: members and family members of our Supervisory Committee,
Board of Directors, Credit Committee, Scholarship Committee, staff, and other
For what type of training will the scholarship help pay? Vocational training,
2-year colleges, 4-year colleges, graduate studies, re-entry, GED, almost
anything educational a woman wants to do to improve herself.
For what can the money be used? Examples:
*Acceptable: Fees, books & school supplies, tuition, permits
(including campus parking permits)..
Not acceptable: Credit cards, pizza, applicant, living expenses, childcare.
*Note: the scholarship check will be made payable to the school or the school bookstore
for benefit of the winner. Example: University of Texas for Benefit of Cecilia Scholarshipwinner.
IRENE MERCADO SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS
May. 1 – Aug. 31: Mail your application to Women's
Southwest FCU's PO Box in time to arrive between those dates.
September: Scholarship Committee reviews applications.
As part of this process, we may ask you to participate in a telephone
interview. The credit union will pay long distance charges (if any).
Any time after we have notified the winner, funds will be made available.
Note: Scholarship check will be payable to the school or the campus
bookstore. Checks will not be paid to winners or their credit cards,
not even to reimburse them for school expenses they have previously
paid or advanced.
October: Winner's name & photo appear in newsletter or insert enclosed in
mailing to credit union members
How to Apply:
2. You are going to need to complete a 12-month budget.
Feel free to consult. “How to Live on Less”. It contains
information that may help you reduce your cost of living. It also gives guidance on how
to complete the worksheets in #3.
to turn in these worksheets. You may find them useful as you prepare your 12-month budget.
4. Using a form or spreadsheet you make up, prepare a personal budget for
all of your expenses, for school as well as living. Make it for a 12-month
period. Begin with the month before you will start--or return to--school.
5. Write a paragraph of up to 50** words to answer this question: If you are
able to attain your educational goal, how will that improve your life? ** Note: Our
Selection Committee will not judge the paragraph on the basis of spelling,
grammar, or punctuation. If your paragraph has more than 50 words, your
application will not be considered.
6. Send only the application form, your personal budget, and the paragraph. Send
them to the credit union (see contact info at top).
We shall consider ONLY the items we’ve requested. NO unsolicited attachments
*California Feminist FCU merged with Women's Southwest on 12/31/2009.
(c) 2003 - 2009 Cal Feminist FCU & (c) 2010 - 2012 Women's Southwest FCU