Self-Help members, staff and board members mingle during the 2017 annual meeting. (Staff photo)
This past Wednesday Self-Help Credit Union held its annual meeting in downtown Durham, NC. Even on a rainy night, dedicated members and supporters came out to participate in board elections, receive updates and enjoy good food.
Randy Chambers, President of Self-Help Credit Union, presented the financial report for the organization, noting strong performance and growth. One big event this year was our merger with Jax Metro Credit Union in Jacksonville, Florida. Jax Metro has four branches in Jacksonville with about 4,500 members.
Newly elected board members Edward Byron, Laura Jackson and Elbert Avery. (Staff photo)
Long-time board member Elbert Avery and newcomers Laura Jackson and Edward Byron joined the SHCU board through the elections at the annual meeting. Mr. Avery is a manager with Durham's Department of Community Development; Ms. Jackson is a biologist with the EPA; and Mr. Byron is a consumer protection attorney at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy.
Following the elections, Ellen Schloemer, Senior VP of Marketing, presented a video depicting a small credit union in Bertie County, NC that merged with Self-Help in 2014. African-American farmers in that area started St. Luke Credit Union as a cooperative to purchase fertilizer and other essentials. This video is part of a series of short documentaries preserving the history of credit unions that have joined Self-Help in recent years.
CEO Martin Eakes began his remarks by contrasting Self-Help "then and now." Although there are differences in size, scope and reach, Self-Help began in 1980 with a civil rights and social justice mission, and we remain focused on that mission today by expanding economic opportunities for more families in a variety of ways.
Attendees at the 2017 annual meeting for Self-Help learn about the growth and work of the organization this year. (Staff photo)
In his closing remarks, Martin told the story of a man he met who received a Self-Help home loan at a time when he and his family were struggling. The loan helped the man persist during a difficult period, and he was able to get back on his feet.
Martin made it clear that he is inspired by our members every day.
"I've had the privilege of walking with about ten thousand people… who were basically ordinary heroes in my book," Martin said.