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Media Release

Kern Central Credit Union and Self-Help Federal Credit Union Join to Form the Second Largest Community Development Credit Union in California

Jan 8, 2010

Contact: Steve Zuckerman at 510-379-5511 or; Carl Trejo at 661-431-1823 or; David Beck at 919-956-4495 or  

Bakersfield, CA — Kern Central Credit Union and Self-Help Federal Credit Union (SHFCU) will become a single credit union effective January 8, 2010. The combined credit union will have more than $150 million in assets and over 23,000 members, making it the second largest community development credit union in California.  

The combination is the result of a decision by the National Credit Union Administration to transfer member shares and certain assets of Kern Central Credit Union to Self-Help Federal Credit Union in a purchase and assumption agreement.  This decision follows more than two years of extremely challenging economic conditions in the Bakersfield area, a period in which unemployment has risen, household incomes and savings have shrunk, and families have struggled.   

According to long-time Kern Central Credit Union CEO, Carl Trejo, “We are very excited to become a part of the Self-Help Federal Credit Union family.  Self-Help is a great fit for us.  We are extremely pleased to be continuing service from our three locations and our entire staff is eager to focus our attention on growth and expanding member services.”    

“Within this challenging economic environment, the need to preserve access to responsible financial services for underserved communities is critical,” said Steve Zuckerman, Managing Director of Self-Help’s California operations. “Kern’s strong management, experience, and tradition of promoting services for working families enhances our ongoing activity in this arena.  The newly adopted name of Community Trust also reflects our commitment to the communities we serve.  Together, we have a solid platform from which to support the preservation and enhancement of financial services to low-income communities across California.” 

This purchase and assumption agreement also reflects a high level of cooperation between two credit unions and state and federal regulators.  Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Kern Central Credit Union and the regulatory agencies involved have worked closely to ensure a smooth transition and no disruption to member services.  “This has been an educational process for us,” said Zuckerman.  “It has revealed an impressive management team at Kern Central and a high level of professionalism among the staff of the key regulators.” 

Both Kern Central Credit Union and Self-Help share a common mission to provide affordable quality financial services to underserved communities. The fusion will result in a wider variety of services and products for Kern Central members, and will help preserve and expand access to responsible credit for low-income communities in the Central Valley.  

“This is a great opportunity to partner with another financially strong credit union that shares the same vision, enabling us to expand services to other underserved areas and to heighten our impact in the community,” said Trejo. “Self-Help Federal Credit Union shares our culture, mission and dedication to best serve our members – all the makings of a great partnership and resource for the Valley.” 

Self-Help Federal Credit Union has merged four Credit Unions in California, expanding its ability to serve both the Bay area and the Central Valley.  SHFCU merged with People’s Community Partnership Federal Credit Union in West Oakland in the fall of 2008, with Community Trust Credit Union in June of 2009 and with El Futuro Credit Union in January of 2010.  Kern Central Union will do business as Community Trust Credit Union,a division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which already includes branches in Porterville, Modesto, Riverbank, East Palo Alto and East San Jose.  

“We are humbled by the opportunity to carry the legacy of the former United Farm Workers Credit Union, the first functioning credit union for farm workers, founded by the late Cesar Chavez,” said Zuckerman. “We are committed to carrying forward that legacy of fair, responsible financial services to farm workers and other residents of the Central Valley.” 

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About Kern Central Credit Union 

In over 35 years of operations, Kern Central Credit Union has become an important institution for Kern County, providing financial services for working families and those traditionally underserved by financial institutions.  At its peak, the credit union had over $42 million in assets, and 9,000 members and has served thousands of Central Valley residents. In 1995, Kern Central Credit Union merged with the United Farm Workers Credit Union. 

About Self-Help Federal Credit Union 

SHFCU is part of the non-profit Center for Community Self-Help family of organizations. This includes North Carolina state-chartered Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Responsible Lending.  

Founded in 1980, Self-Help is a nonprofit community development lender and real estate developer that works with qualified individuals, organizations and communities traditionally underserved by conventional markets. Self-Help has provided over $5.5 billion of financing to more than 60,000 low-wealth families, small businesses and nonprofit organizations across the country, and manages 18 retail credit union branches, serving more than 50,000 members in California and North Carolina.