Being approved for a car loan or a mortgage is always great news, but a loan for a xylophone or a movie camera is almost unheard of. Or is it?
The $1. 5 million NoteWorthy Credit Union located in Cleveland serves the arts and entertainment community, and its specializes in providing loans for musical instruments and other artistic endeavors. The credit union’s president, Henry Peyrebrune, is a Cleveland Orchestra bassist and NoteWorthy is located in the lobby of a refurbished warehouse built in 1907, called the Tower Press Building, which houses not only the credit union, but artists’ lofts and a café bursting with colorful art.
NoteWorthy, which has about 500 members, is situated in the center of Cleveland’s arts and cultural communities. Musician and credit union member Kyra Kester, an active performer and teacher on both flute and piccolo, loves to come in and socialize with the other musicians, artists and credit union manager Kathy Klimko.
“I come in and make a deposit and just hang out sometimes,” said Kester, who has been a NoteWorthy member since 2010. “The Cleveland music world is very tight-knit, and this is a great place to network.”
Peyrebrune explained that NoteWorthy was founded in 1960 as the Local 4 Musicians’ Credit Union. In 1996, it broadened membership to include the wider musical community and changed the name to NoteWorthy Federal Credit Union. In 2006, it began expanding membership to include people from the entire spectrum of northeast Ohio’s arts and entertainment community.
”We know a lot of people in the arts don’t make a lot of money or they don’t have income coming in on a weekly basis, but we’ve found that they are usually very motivated people,” Peyrebrune said. “In our research, we’ve found that most people in the arts are excluded from getting loans from other institutions for their instruments. We’re not like that.”
Since 2010, NoteWorthy has offered the creative arts project loan program, which offers loans of up to $50,000 to artists of all kinds who need capital for the tools and materials of their particular disciplines, from documentary filmmaking and hip-hop dance to country music and graphic novels.
It seems that the art community has discovered this creative credit union. Loan growth is at 63.62% of assets, up from last September’s 3.44%.
Klimko is not an artist, but she is a 30- year veteran of credit unions and is proud of the credit union’s membership.
“We really have a unique field of membership, “ she said. “The Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Pops, Akron and Canton symphonies are just some of the many people we are serving. We’ve started serving other musicians throughout the U.S. as word has traveled many circuits. I feel credit unions are like a family, and we all try to help one another.”