TYSONS, Va., April 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In honor of Second Chance Month, PenFed Credit Union president and CEO James Schenck and The Honorable Rodney E. Hood, National Credit Union Administration board member, visited Bungee Obleceni headquarters in Philadelphia to meet with founder and lead designer Darrell Alston. The purpose of the meeting was to recognize and discuss the ongoing challenges that convicted felons face in finding careers after finishing their sentences. 

The White House named April Second Chance Month to raise awareness about the need for opportunities for convicted felons who wish to safely reintegrate into society. According to the proclamation, 600,000 individuals leave prison and re-enter their communities every year. PenFed, the nation’s second-largest federal credit union, and NCUA, the independent federal agency created by the U.S. Congress to regulate, charter and supervise federal credit unions, aim to carry out the credit union mission of “people helping people.”

“I don’t think any of us would want to be judged for the rest of our lives by the worst mistake we ever made,” said James Schenck, president and CEO of PenFed Credit Union and CEO of PenFed Foundation. “The credit union industry is committed to serving communities, and this includes formerly-incarcerated individuals for low level, non-violent crimes, who have served their sentences. We can help support those who are determined to better their lives rather than withholding opportunities, a mistake which could perpetuate a life of crime.”

Alston, who spent more than six years in prison for dealing drugs, is one of 19 million Americans with a felony conviction. He now faces costly car and life insurance, difficulty finding housing, getting approved for loans, or finding jobs in the fast-food industry, as a first responder, or in the military, among other industries. “I’ll never be able to do any of that stuff simply because of what I did years ago. I’m not saying every single person deserves the opportunity of a second chance, but I’ve met a lot of people that do,” explained Alston.

“Part of our national identity is grounded in the idea that America is a place where people can start anew,” said Rodney E Hood. “Darrell’s story is an example of how individuals, their families, their communities, and our society benefit when we practice forgiveness and extend redemption to those who sincerely repent past mistakes. The dividends are both spiritual and tangible. But far too often, hiring practices lack that quality of mercy. Otherwise qualified applicants are rejected, based on long-ago convictions for low-level criminal activity. Society has begun rethinking these punitive hiring practices, and I say it is about time.”

The NCUA board, under Hood’s leadership, streamlined the process so credit unions can now more easily offer jobs to people with nonviolent criminal records. In 2019, the NCUA board at Hood’s prompting moved to reduce barriers to employment for returned citizens whose low-level, nonviolent offenses had occurred far in the past.

“I can’t save everybody, but if I can save one or two, and 5,200 other credit union CEOs can do the same, we can give livelihood to 10,000 individuals who deserve a second chance,” said Schenck. “There are thousands – hundreds of thousands – of individuals like Darrell across this country. And it’s up to each of us to do our part to try to make a difference.”

To learn more about Second Chance Month, a highlight video from the meeting can be found on LinkedIn and YouTube.

To support Bungee Obleceni, please visit: www.bungeebrand.com.

About PenFed Credit UnionEstablished in 1935, Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed) is America’s second-largest federal credit union, serving over 2.2 million members worldwide with over $27 billion in assets. PenFed Credit Union offers market-leading certificates, checking, credit cards, personal loans, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and a wide range of other financial services. Our mission is to empower members of our community to achieve their financial well-being. PenFed Credit Union is federally insured by the NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender. To learn more about PenFed Credit Union, visit PenFed.org, like us on Facebook and follow us @PenFed on Twitter. Interested in working for PenFed? Check us out on LinkedIn. We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.

SOURCE PenFed Credit Union

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