Feature on Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid.

Lake Trust recently had the honor of being a featured organization on Viewpoint with Dennis Quaid. Lake Trust was selected due to our dedication to fostering financial wellbeing, our commitment to assisting nonprofits in Michigan, and as a thought leader in the Michigan credit union space.

Viewpoint is a public television documentary series dedicated to sharing stories about people, businesses, and communities who work to create positive change. Lake Trust’s Viewpoint segment was filmed at several Michigan locations, including our Brighton headquarters and Build Institute, a partner and small business resource.

The segment features members of the Lake Trust team and highlights two of Lake Trust’s business members. President and CEO, David Snodgrass was interviewed by the Viewpoint team along with Jeanette Pierce, founder and president of City Institute, and Jessie Hayes, founder of Skinphorea Facial Bar in Metro Detroit. Together, they shared the story of how Lake Trust invests in its members, Michigan communities, and our commitment to supporting small businesses.

The full segment began airing in 2023 on 170+ public television stations throughout the U.S. and will continue airing between movies or other shows for one full year. In addition, a 60-second commercial was developed and aired nationally in prime time and on cable networks in Michigan.

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Dennis Quaid - ViewPoint

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The power of community support.

Small businesses are the heart of communities. It might be a daily stop for coffee before a busy workday, a warm and welcoming place for dinner with the family, or your favorite local place to shop with friends. Thriving small businesses can become part of daily lives and create the unique identity of a hometown. The hard-working owners of small businesses improve the neighborhood by creating great places to work, and vibrant places to live. And when we support them, we build a stronger community, together.

Since the start of the Streetscape Project in early 2023, business owners in Downtown Brighton felt the impact. The extensive and ongoing construction temporarily closed several streets and roads, restricted access to businesses and caused some owners to experience a marked decrease in foot traffic and sales. In response, the Downtown Brighton Small Business Relief Fund was launched by Lake Trust Credit Union and the Lake Trust Foundation2 in partnership with the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Brighton DDA to support these shops and restaurants.

The Lake Trust Foundation and Lake Trust Credit Union committed $24,000 to the Downtown Brighton Small Business Relief Fund and championed a crowdfunding campaign, inviting the community to contribute additional funds to support our local businesses.

Twenty small businesses were selected through an application process and received financial assistance for various needs including unpaid utility bills, staffing, and inventory. The support played a crucial role in helping the business community navigate this challenging time.

The community came together through the Downtown Brighton Small Business Relief Fund, showing their support by continuing to visit their favorite downtown businesses during the construction, and through their donations. Together, we can uplift our local businesses, our communities, and each other.

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Fostering financial wellbeing conversations.

Financial wellbeing in the United States recently saw a decrease, with 35 percent of adults stating they were worse off financially than a year ago (the highest level since 2014).3 In an effort to spark a national conversation about financial wellbeing, Jason Vitug, author of the national bestseller You Only Live Once and founder of Phroogal1, embarked on a mission to visit local credit unions and book stores in all 50 states. In early 2023, Jason published a new book, Happy Money Happy Life, which examines the relationship between personal finance and overall wellbeing. Lake Trust previously formed a relationship with Jason back in 2016 when he visited the Lake Trust Headquarters to talk to our team about financial literacy.

Since Jason’s focus on wellness aligns with Lake Trust’s focus of enhancing the financial wellbeing of individuals, families, and small businesses, it was an honor to support his support his mission and enhance education around wellbeing. Jason hosted discussions at Lake Trust branches and at independent bookstores in Lansing, Ann Arbor, Detroit, and Brighton to start community conversations about the emotional impact of financial health.

During Jason’s tour, Lake Trust supported the financial wellbeing of small businesses by purchasing 900 Happy Money Happy Life books from local bookstores: Socialight Society and Hooked in Lansing; Schuler’s Bookstore in Ann Arbor; 2 Dandelions in Brighton; and 27th Letter in Detroit. To further enhance community wellbeing, Lake Trust gave away the books to members of the community during the book signings. Books were also shared with team members to foster employee and member engagement.

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Lake Trust was named the Habitat for Humanity Advocate of the Year.

Leveraging partnerships to enhance wellbeing in Michigan.

As a continuation of Lake Trust’s work to support affordable housing, and to enhance wellbeing in local communities, the organization leveraged a strong partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Michigan to make a positive impact for individuals and families in need.

Unique Home Loan Solution

To help more individuals and families experience the power of home, Lake Trust leveraged relationships with Habitat for Humanity of Michigan and Mortgage Center to facilitate the creation of a unique home loan solution. To qualify for the Lake Trust Habitat for Humanity Loan through Mortgage Center, traditional forms of credit, like a credit score, are not primary factors in the underwriting process. Instead, an applicant’s prior rental history, utility payments, and/or student loan payment history is reviewed.

According to the latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households (May 2022-May 2023), 40 percent of those who were currently renting stated they could not qualify for a mortgage (thus the reason for renting).4 So, a unique product like the Lake Trust Habitat for Humanity Loan through Mortgage Center could help more potential homeowners purchase a home.

Offering Further Support

During the creation of the new home loan product, the Lake Trust team also recognized that Habitat for Humanity home buyers needed tools in place to have their property taxes calculated at a reasonable rate. To support this idea, Lake Trust acted as the driving force behind Michigan House Bill 4812, which was recently signed into law.

Due to this collaboration and Lake Trust’s advocacy with Habitat, the State of Michigan appropriated $10 million to Habitat for Humanity of Michigan. These funds will make homeownership attainable and affordable for more individuals and families in Michigan.

For her support of Habitat for Humanity and dedication to affordable housing and community development, Lake Trust Government Affairs Manager, Rebecca O’Connell, received the Sandy Pearson Award from Habitat for Humanity of Michigan.

Helping Families in Need

Lake Trust partnered with Habitat for Humanity Northeast’s Critical Repair Program to identify crucial needs in the community. This program helps existing low-income homeowners who physically or financially can’t afford vital maintenance of their homes. In 2022, the program helped support the repair of 100 homes in Northeast Michigan.

In partnership with Habitat for Humanity Northeast, Lake Trust applied for, and was awarded, $20,000 through the Federal Home Loan Bank’s Neighborhood Impact Program to help homeowners with critical home repairs. Half of these funds were used to help a disabled veteran and his wife get a new roof on their home. The rest of the funds supported an elderly resident in Alpena with siding repairs on her home.

Lake Trust was named the Habitat for Humanity Advocate of the Year.

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Expanding financial options in CDFI communities.

Lake Trust serves its Michigan neighborhoods as a Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI. That means that Lake Trust was recognized by the U.S. Department of Treasury as a financial institution that is actively expanding economic opportunity in low-income communities.

As of July 2023, Lake Trust originated $37.9 million in qualifying CDFI loans. These loans help spur economic development by providing access to affordable financial products and services for consumers and businesses in underserved Michigan neighborhoods.

CDFI grants allow Lake Trust to offer an affordable alternative to predatory lenders who might take advantage of those with no credit or low credit histories. These predatory lenders often have high interest rates, excessive fees, and can harm rather than strengthen a borrower’s financial wellbeing.

In contrast, the targeted CDFI campaigns offer a better solution for borrowers: a simple loan application process, financing options even if members have lower credit, and tools to help those in underserved communities with their financial goals.

Continuing Our Service as a CDFI

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) awarded Lake Trust with the CDFI Fund grant for 2024. Allocating $633,000 in CDFI funding to Lake Trust, allowing us to continue offering financial solutions to our Michigan communities.

Enhancing affordable housing in Detroit.

As construction prices rise, developers must increase rent on other properties to finance future developments. Without income, developers cannot finance, build, or renovate other housing, and this lack of development can drive rent prices up as demand increases.5 When these rising costs exceed increases in household income, tenants are often forced to move. But where can they find affordable housing?

The need for affordable housing in Detroit has been a widely discussed problem in recent years. According to a 2021 study of city residents by the University of Michigan, approximately 39,000 Detroit households are spending more than half of their income on rent or mortgage payments.6 For comparison, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recommends spending no more than 30 percent of gross income on rent and utilities.6

After the successful completion of the Marwood and West Boston Apartment Projects, Lake Trust again sponsored an Affordable Housing Grant through Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) in 2023. This is the third time Lake Trust will work with Develop Detroit to enhance housing in the city.

The Affordable Housing Grant will offer gap financing for the rehab of the vacant Linwood Apartment building at 2295 W. Grand River Ave. Once completed, the building will provide 40 permanent supportive housing (PSH) units with twenty-four 2-bedroom and sixteen 1-bedroom units. The renovation will not only save an already existing building and provide more affordable housing in the area, but this transformation will also help preserve an important area in the New Center neighborhood between Henry Ford Hospital and the Motown Museum.

1Third party website. Lake Trust Credit Union is not responsible for the content, availability, security or compliance of any linked third party websites. In addition, the site's privacy policies may differ from those of Lake Trust.

2The Lake Trust Foundation is a registered 501(c) (3) organization EIN: 45-5332078. Donations are tax-deductible as permitted by law.

3Federal Reserve. (2023, June 2). Report On The Economic Well-Being Of U.S. Households In 2022-May 2023. “Expenses”. Retrieved from

4Federal Reserve. (2023, June 2). Report On The Economic Well-Being Of U.S. Households In 2022-May 2023. “Housing”. Retrieved from

5Pinho, Kirk, (2022, April 22). Why affordable housing is a particularly tough problem for Detroit. Crain’s Detroit Business. Retrieved from

6Rahman, Nushrat. (2022, April 28). Housing costs take bulk of paycheck for thousands of Detroiters, survey shows. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved from