Dear Members and Friends,
We’re only in the second quarter, but already this has been an eventful year. In January, Self-Help Federal Credit Union merged with Community Trust Federal Credit Union, a small institution with a large local impact serving farmworkers in rural Apopka, Florida. In February, we launched a new mortgage program (The Affordable Loan Solution™) with Bank of America and Freddie Mac, and we are expanding that program with other partners to be announced soon. Most recently, Self-Help Credit Union merged with Greater Piedmont Credit Union, a North Carolina credit union with 6,000 members representing a dozen employers.
These recent events built on a strong performance last year – for a fun summary, see our 2015 Online Annual Report. Last year, we made $308 million in loans that helped create new homeowners, launched small businesses, revitalized neighborhoods and expanded community facilities such as charter schools and child care centers. We’ve also increased our focus on financing for clean energy and improving access to healthy foods. Together, Self-Help Credit Union and Self-Help Federal Credit Union now provide fair and affordable services to 125,000 members in North Carolina, California, Illinois and Florida.
While providing direct banking services in the states we serve, we also fight for fair lending everywhere. Through the Center for Responsible Lending, we stand up for working families targeted by predatory lenders. In 2016, we hope the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose new national regulations to curb abusive payday loans. We are advocating for tough payday rules while also pushing for badly needed reforms in auto loans, student loans, debt collection and checking account overdraft fees.
Ultimately, we measure Self-Help’s success against the needs in the communities we serve, and the needs remain great. Too many families are stuck on the lower rungs of our economy. Where there is lack of economic opportunity, there is also a deficit of hope. Our mission is to expand economic opportunity for all, and thereby expand hope for families and communities facing great financial stress.
This year we are making new investments and seeking innovative ways to address needs we cannot ignore. As always, the challenges are daunting, and we deeply appreciate the support of our members, funders and partners. Thanks for walking this steep road with us.
CEO, Self-Help and Center for Responsible Lending