DURHAM, N.C. (12/8/14)--Thirty years ago in Durham, N.C., Self-Help CU set out on a mission to serve those outside the financial mainstream by providing loans through raising deposits. Successful in that measure, the $546 million-asset credit union just opened its first complete, full-service branch in its hometown, made possible by an $800,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation.
|Martin Eakes, CEO/co-founder, Self-Help CU, left; Marty Lippert, executive vice president for global technology and operations, MetLife; Lakeisha Wilson, Self-Help CU member and WealthBuilder borrower; North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory; April Hawkins, assistant vice president, MetLife Foundation; and Thomas Stith, McCrory's chief of staff. (Self-Help CU Photo)|
The branch is housed in the location of recent merger partner, Generations Community FCU, with $20 million in assets. Now members who visit the credit union's hometown location have access to cash services, as they do at the credit union's other branches.
"While Durham is Self-Help's hometown, it has taken us 30 years to open a full-service branch here. Support from MetLife Foundation has made it happen," said Martin Eakes, Self-Help CU CEO/co-founder. "Additionally, the capital investment from MetLife provides us critical financial strength to consider future expansion of our credit union network and serve more communities nationwide."
Pat McCrory, North Carolina 's governor, and one of the credit union's members who has benefited from its WealthBuilder program, were at Thursday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
A WealthBuilder loan enables borrowers to refinance existing high-cost loans at a lower rate while setting aside savings from the refinancing as a financial reserve. With MetLife Foundation's support, Self-Help CU is expanding the program across the state and providing a $100 savings incentive that goes directly to the customer to build their financial reserves.
Member Lakeisha Wilson was able to refinance a loan with a 30% interest rate to one at 11%. She was able to pay the debt off in a year and build up her savings account, said Self-Help CU's David Beck. Wilson helped cut the ribbon during Thursday's ceremony.
Additionally, MetLife is providing a $5 million long-term, low-interest loan that will enable Self-Help to make a secondary capital investment in its credit unions.