So, imagine you’re a single mother, working two jobs to pay the bills and cover the mortgage. Or perhaps you’re a newlywed couple or an elderly widow trying to make ends meet and you’re about to lose your home. What do you do? Who do you call? You go to bed each night in fear, wondering, “Isn’t there anyone out there who cares about people like me?” The answer is, YES THERE IS!
Rashmi Rangan is one of those people. As co-founder of Stepping Stones Credit Union and Executive Director of the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council (DCRAC), Rashmi has earned the reputation as a hands-on, in the trenches administrator, a rare and welcome management style seldom seen by the middle-to-lower income community. Spend five minutes with Rashmi, and that word becomes a recurring theme – community. Whether hosting a seminar on how to improve your credit rating or throwing a barbeque with a goal to educate her friends, neighbors and clients on how to go about buying a home, Rashmi doesn’t see people as demographics. They are simply, her friends – her community. And her life’s work has been to help her community regain control of their lives through financial stability.
When Rashmi isn’t enjoying the company of her granddaughters Adriana and Arya, she is tirelessly shepherding North Delawareans through the dangerous financial waters that often swallow the uninformed consumer. She is currently on the Community Advisory Board of Capital One, is a member of the Foreclosure/Mortgage Fraud Prevention Task Force, the Fair Housing Task Force and is a former member of the Consumer Advisory Council with the Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System.
Q & A with Rashmi
NDH: The person who nominated you gave us three reasons why you should be nominated as a Mover & Shaker. Now we would like to hear it from you. Tell us three reasons why you are a Mover & Shaker.
- I care deeply about the community. I am charged to serve and I am not shy about speaking on their behalf.
- After almost 20 years, Delawareans do not let my role as an advocate and critic of the financial institutions get in the way of their friendship and support.
- I am driven by excellence. I demand it of myself, my staff, volunteers, and clients.
NDH: What achievements are you most proud of?
Rashmi: Launching Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union—the only credit union chartered in the United States in 2011 by the National Credit Union Administration.
NDH: Can you share any stories about how your involvement has impacted an individual or the North Delaware community?
Rashmi: An elderly homeowner who once enjoyed great status in the community is now a client facing tremendous economic hardship. We have helped her establish a budget, payment plans, and after nearly 6 years, we will finally get closure on all debts through my client’s hard work. She can live the rest of her life in economic dignity.
NDH: Movers & Shakers are visionaries. What projects are you working on for future achievement?
Rashmi: Stepping Stones Community Federal Credit Union is only 3 years old. We are still building its foundation. We hope to announce soon that we are a Federal Home Loan Bank member. But, most of all, I am working on building Delaware Community Reinvestment Action toward self-sufficiency (which will happen when the credit union becomes profitable) and positioning ourselves to a smooth succession when the time is ripe. My legacy will be to have left a self-sufficient non-profit as a model for meeting the needs of the poor.
NDH: Have you faced any serious challenges along the way that you would like to share?
Rashmi: In the non-profit world, funding is always the most challenging followed by staff turn-over. I take exceptional pride in bringing and nurturing talent at non-profit wages and then watch with pride as they move on to better paying jobs in the for-profit sector hoping that their time with us shifted their moral compass just a little toward compassion. But my most serious challenge remains in taming technology to serve our needs.
NDH: What local organizations, events or clubs are you currently involved with?
Rashmi: I am involved with the League of Women Voters.
NDH: What attracted you to this organization?
Rashmi: Their issues, their passion, and their willingness to do something about it. We fight wars to save democracy, yet voter participation in our own politics is shameful.
NDH: Who or what inspired you to get involved? And, how did they inspire you?
Rashmi: With the League of Women Voters, when I became a citizen and saw them welcome us with open arms, I was sold. But to get more involved, my arms were twisted.
NDH: Do you have a mentor?
Rashmi: I look up to and emulate many people I have been blessed to come across. I never hesitate to ask for help from those I look up to. Over the recent past, I have come to rely on two people—Jim Angus, a retired attorney who volunteers with us and Jaclyn Lantieri, a staff and an attorney who never hesitates to present the opposing view. They continue to help me grow as a person and a professional. My husband has been my mentor for 33 years helping me bring my work and life into balance.
NDH: Is there anything else that North Delaware should know about YOU?
Rashmi: I am a very proud grandma to two loveliest little granddaughters Adriana (4) and Arya (2). In my spare time, I love gardening and parties.
NDH: What is your favorite North Delaware Event?
Rashmi: Obviously, Movers & Shakers!
NDH: What is your go-to spot for dinner and or nightlife?
Rashmi: The Reef when Club Phred is playing and when I can muster the time.
NDH: How do you feel about being named as one of the Top 10 Movers & Shakers in North Delaware?
Rashmi: I feel humbled, awed, amazed, on top of the world.
Check out the Movers & Shakers DE 2014 Video, featuring Rashmi.
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