The federally chartered institution has a primary location in Oakland, Calif. but has a mailing address the same as Self-Help in North Carolina for NCUA purposes and longtime CU activist CEO Martin Eakes is CEO of both.
SHFCU announced a merger with the Porterville, Calif. headquartered El Futuro Credit Union on Jan. 5. El Futuro is a credit union in California's San Joaquin Valley that was founded in 1966 to offer financial services to migrant farm laborers, according to the CU. The El Futuro merger is SHFCU's third since 2008 and took SHFCU to just under 18,000 members.
Then, two days later, on Jan. 7, the credit union assumed the assets, liabilities and members of the failed Kern Central Credit Union, headquartered in Bakersfield, Calif., at the behest of NCUA. This merger brought SHFCU to roughly $150 million in assets with over 23,000 members, according to a Self Help FCU release.
The mergers mean Self Help FCU is now the second largest community development credit union in the state, Self Help said.
In each case, the merging credit unions were located in regions of the state that have been particularly hard hit in the state's economic down turn. Kern Central especially had been having a difficult time. According to NCUA's last September numbers, Kern Central saw its net worth ratio drop from 7.60% in December of 2008 to 3.89% in March 2009. From there, it continued to drop until it hit 2.27% in September 2009, the last month for which the agency had available data.
"We are very excited to become a part of the Self-Help Federal Credit Union family. Self-Help is a great fit for us," said Kern Central Credit Union CEO, Carl Trejo. "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."
A spokesman for Self Help said that the mergers would only require SHFCU to add one or two new staff members since "the staff from the merged CUs has been able to integrate well." Both credit union's will affiliate with SHFCU under the name Community Trust Credit Unions and retain much of their staffs.
"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.
"El Futuro's strong management, experience and tradition of promoting services for working families enhances Self-Help Federal's 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," he added.
"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 Raul Pickett, CEO of El Futuro Credit Union. "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."
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.
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.