The staff at Blue Ridge Biofuels, a Self-Help borrower and sustainable energy producer in Asheville, NC.
Self-Help’s mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all. That means offering fair financial services and making loans to people who aspire to buy their first home or launch a small business. 

It also means building stronger communities by lending to nonprofits, community health facilities and public charter schools. It means investing in communities that have been forgotten. And it means standing up for fair public policies that promote wider opportunities for the working families we serve.

This report includes some of our impact numbers for 2015, and also some of the stories behind those numbers. Keep scrolling to meet just a few of the determined people we've been privileged to serve as they build a stronger economic future for themselves and their communities.
Through our network of credit unions, we provide fair and affordable financial products that help members build wealth, repair credit and achieve their financial goals.
Treating members like family
Durham, NC resident Tanessa Atwater recalls a time when she struggled with credit issues and relied on expensive cash checking services. Becoming a Self-Help member has been part of many good changes in her life: working toward a nursing degree, helping her children prepare for college and building savings for the future. Tanessa loves being a part of the credit union; she says, “When you come through the door, Self-Help treats you like family.” 
Partners in the community
Evelyn Alarcon is more than a loyal Self-Help member; she’s also an active partner. Evelyn serves as co-director of El Centro, a nonprofit that provides education, services and advocacy for Latinos in Henderson County, NC. Our Asheville staff enjoy working closely with Evelyn to help organize and promote local events. Evelyn, who has been a member for more than 10 years, appreciates banking with a credit union that shares her commitment to the community.
Giving to kids in need
We’re proud of the many ways our members give back to their communities. In 2015 Self-Help members across North Carolina donated to our third annual “Adopt a Backpack” drive through their local branches, in coordination with nearby schools. Each $5 donation paid for a backpack’s worth of needed school supplies for elementary students. Our members donated enough to fill backpacks for 2,225 kids.
Helping families realize the dream of homeownership
Isaias Sandoval and his family spent 18 years saving for a home. Several years ago, this dream seemed impossible when Isaias was forced to stop working because of serious health issues. But Isaias and his family never gave up hope, and his wife and daughter worked multiple jobs to keep saving. Last year the family got their first mortgage through Self-Help’s Second Federal division in Chicago. To make the loan work, Second Federal helped them access funds from a federal housing program. Today Isaias’s health is back on track and his family has an affordable home of their own.
Lighting the path to financial stability
After Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home, Darrell Molett made his way to San Francisco, hoping to start a new life. Without a job or good credit, his life was a struggle. Things began to turn around when he enrolled in community college and connected with Self-Help Federal Credit Union. Taking advantage of our credit-building loans, Darrell managed to raise his credit score by 300 points. He says, “The credit union helped me not only financially but it also helped me as a person. … If you don’t give up, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Today I can be anybody I want to be and do anything I want to do."
The Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) increases our impact by fighting predatory lending. In 2015, CRL defended key  mortgage finance standards while fighting against other  abusive lending practices.
Ending debt-trap lending
The payday lending industry, online and in storefronts, continues to strip income and wealth from families in too many parts of the country. The good news is that more people are recognizing payday lending’s harms and have joined the fight to stop the debt trap. In 2015 CRL continued to work with Congress, faith leaders, state coalitions, and hundreds of community groups to push for strong anti-payday lending rules from the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
Driving out discrimination in auto loans
Too often lower-income African-American and Latino car buyers pay too much because dealers unfairly boost interest rate markups.  These discriminatory loan practices increase the cost of car loans for families who can least afford to pay more. In 2015 CRL continued to urge the CFPB to enforce existing regulations against lenders for discrimination and unfair markups. We also fought bad bills that would have weakened the CFPB’s power to regulate this damaging practice.
Fighting abusive overdraft fees for students
We continue to fight to eliminate the abusive features of high-cost overdraft lending, especially for vulnerable account holders like students. In 2015 we had two big wins on this issue: the Department of Education issued a strong rule prohibiting overdraft fees on certain accounts receiving student loans, and the national Bank On movement adopted “no overdraft fees” as an account standard.
We make homeownership a reality for low- and moderate-income families by offering fair and affordable home loans and developing affordable housing.
Finding a home that fits
When his home purchase closed on August 10th last year, Jerry Pender was ready to start moving in that very day. Jerry had been living in a retirement community in Wilson, NC that just didn’t feel like home, and had always dreamed of someday owning a house of his own. He got in touch with Self-Help loan officer Marcia Staples; soon after, he was settling in to his new home, a modest house he loves. He says, “I'm so happy here. As soon as I opened the door, I knew this was the house for me. It just fit me.”
Helping families become homeowners
When Miguel Moreno and his wife Claudia first came to the US from Mexico, they knew that they wanted to eventually be homeowners. Even with long hours, their jobs at a local restaurant paid modest wages. But they were determined, and managed to put a little away each month. In 2015 they came to Self-Help for a mortgage, and soon after moved into a small home of their own in Asheville, NC. 
We lend to businesses and nonprofits to create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods and build community wealth.
Helping local businesses create jobs 
Nana Manso got his first loan from Self-Help five years ago to start his Raleigh construction business, Skyrock Construction. Business has been booming ever since, and in 2015 he used his fifth Self-Help loan to continue to expand. Since he started Skyrock, Nana has hired 20 employees and built an impressive and ever growing customer list.
Insisting on the triple bottom line
We're delighted to support Rush Creek Lodge in Yosemite National Park, the Park's first new resort in over 25 years and a model of sustainability and social justice. It will feature the largest commercial graywater system in California, re-using 100% of onsite water. Rush Creek has also created a robust workforce development program to help high-potential young adults gain strong employment and life skills. The resort opens this summer, thanks in part to a $30 million loan in 2015 from Self-Help.
Supporting high-quality child care
Donna Danzy has more than 20 years’ experience with young children as a caregiver, teacher and administrator. But when she sought financing to open her own child care center, it wasn’t easy to find. Self-Help worked with her to develop a strong business plan, and today, thanks to financing from Self-Help, Donna is the proud owner of Piedmont Global Preschool and Wishview Children’s Center, both in Greensboro.
Building great schools fueled by joy
Valor Collegiate Academies is a public charter school network in Nashville, Tennessee serving a diverse group of students in grades 5 through 12. Valor gives its students a rigorous education to prepare them for college, but also believes that “great schools are fueled by joy.” In 2015, a $4 million loan from Self-Help funded a new building for Valor that will help the school increase enrollment from 150 to 1,000 students. In 2015, Self-Help lent nearly $19 million to public charter schools across the country. 
Matching workers with jobs in rural North Carolina
Tameka Jenkins lives in rural Washington, NC, where workers badly need jobs and companies need dependable staff. Tameka saw a way to match these needs by using her extensive experience in human resources management. In January 2015, she launched Professional Staffing Solutions — a company that places local workers with manufacturing and assembly companies in nearby counties. A Self-Help loan has helped Tameka take on new clients and continue to expand the business. 
Creating clean and sustainable energy
Blue Ridge Biofuels CEO Woody Eaton is passionate about alternative energy sources that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. Ten years ago, he co-founded Blue Ridge Biofuels in Asheville to provide clean burning, renewable, local biodiesel fuel. Blue Ridge Biofuels produces more than 350,000 gallons of biodiesel annually, keeping 3,300 tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere every year. Last year, a Self-Help loan allowed Blue Ridge Biofuels to expand to meet growing demand.
We develop real estate projects that help communities thrive – from downtown development to affordable housing. We prioritize green, long-term projects, and look to local communities to help guide our vision.
Realizing a community vision
Several years ago, Self-Help began a $13 million redevelopment of “Kent Corner”—a key nexus connecting downtown Durham, Duke University and nearby African-American neighborhoods. We worked closely with community leaders to ensure they had a strong voice. Their vision emphasized preserving local character while adding a grocery store, improvements to existing building facades and plenty of green space. In 2015 we completed the development, and local grocery store Durham Co-op Market opened in Kent Corner, joining the nonprofit Center for Child and Family Health as a tenant.
Developing affordable, high-quality homes
When Alex Cedeno and his wife Maria were looking for a home to buy, they knew they wanted something affordable yet big enough for their growing family. They found a listing online for a Self-Help-built home in Charlotte, NC’s Elizabeth Heights neighborhood. Alex, who owns his own construction company, appreciated the quality of the craftsmanship, and Maria loved the neighborhood. It was the perfect fit for the Cedenos and their young son. Self-Help has developed 13 affordable homes in Elizabeth Heights.
(as of December 31, 2015)
(Dollars in thousands - unaudited)
Cash & Investments $342,430
Community Development Loans & Investments, Net of Reserves 1,292,410
Net Real Estate Assets 138,758
Other Assets 68,527
Total Assets $1,842,125
Reserves for Guaranteed Loans 5,807
Credit Union Deposits 1,013,662
Notes Payable & Program-Related Investments 182,662
Other Liabilities 91,948
Total Liabilities $1,294,039
Non-Controlling Interest in Subsidiaries 58,159
Core Net Assets & Other Comprehensive Income 489,927
Total Net Assets $548,086
Guaranteed Community Development Loans & Investments $27,785
(Dollars in thousands - unaudited) 
Investment Income $1,470
Loan & Secondary Market Interest 81,990
Rental Income 12,628
Fees & Other Income 13,806
Grants & Non-Operating Gains 11,965
Total Revenue $121,859
Interest & Dividends 21,503
Compensation & Benefits 37,498
Other Operating Expenses 30,972
Provision for Credit Losses 4,385
Depreciation 6,250
Total Expenses $100,608
NET INCOME $21,251
We're building on the successes of 2015, but we can't do it alone. Please join us in our work. Become a credit union member and give your money a mission. Every member of Self-Help gains access to great financial services while becoming an investor in building stronger communities.