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Summit Credit Union: Equal pay between women and men


25 October 2023

 Summit Credit Union, in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, has launched its Equity in Money initiative, which aims to improve the financial wellbeing of women and close the wealth gap between women and men. 

Summit Credit Union launched its Equity in Money initiative, a multi-faceted plan to improve the financial wellbeing of women and close the wealth gap between women and men. Summit wants to inspire progress for equal pay in Wisconsin, where women earn 80 cents for every USD 1 earned by men. At the current rate, women in Wisconsin will not reach equal pay status until 2067.

Research by the bank showed not only the need for pay parity for women and men in similar positions, but also a need for increased representation in leadership jobs. There are not enough women getting promotions or breaking into higher-paid jobs and fields, and that slows efforts to close the overall pay gap.

Pay inequity leads to more than USD 500 billion in lost earning power annually for women, according to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Women aged 65 or older are about 43% more likely than men to live on an income below the poverty level and about 65% of the elderly poor are women, according to the US Department of Labor.

Summit Credit Union’s CEO and President, Kim Sponem:

“The pay gap makes it more difficult for women to save and can also create higher debt, which can lead to poverty for women, especially in retirement. As a leading financial institution in Wisconsin, we want to inspire a conversation about pay equity and representation gaps in our industry and our communities. Summit is committed to ensuring fair pay for similar work for all our colleagues, while recognizing performance and experience levels. Helping women get into higher level positions within companies and boards will help reduce the pay gap as well.”


Bigger impact if women increased their lifetime earning power to be comparable to men’s.

How the initiative works in practice

The initiative includes financial wellness programmes, building women’s wealth, a pay equity dashboard, and loan programmes and scholarships for women. Each component is explained below:

  • Financial Wellness Programmes: Including Red Shoes, which is designed to give women well-defined steps, encouragement and support as they take control of their money and achieve financial goals. Summit also offers Financial Wellness for Employees, which makes financial education resources available at no charge to employers as a seamless addition to their corporate wellness programmes.
  • Building Women’s Wealth: The credit union offers homeownership programmes, including down payment assistance and low-interest loans, to help women achieve homeownership. A new scholarship programme will help women better equip themselves for careers in higher-paying fields and increase their lifetime earnings, including valuable financial coaching, tips on how to create a strong resume or negotiate salary, and mentoring support.
  • Pay Equity Dashboard: A dashboard on its website will transparently provide information on the credit union’s pay practices, including annual reviews of compensation within each of Summit’s pay levels, ensuring fair pay for similar work. This review includes an assessment of “compa-ratios,” which compares the pay of employees in similar roles to ensure that they are being paid fairly.

As part of this initiative, Summit Credit Union plans to debut loan programmes for women.

The Equity in Money initiative is part of Summit Credit Union’s commitment to making a difference in the lives of its members and communities. The credit union pursues to empower members with financial information that gives them more confidence in their actions and decisions.

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