POINT ARENA, Calif. – It took not only a town but also theCalifornia Credit Union League and credit union leaders to helpbring back financial services here. The city purchased an ATM andcredit union staffers and locals literally worked side-by-side tohelped build the facility. Residents haven't had a branch heresince Westamerica Bank closed its doors in February 2003, leavingmany of the 3,700 households in the surround area no choice but todrive 32 miles round trip to the nearest bank. After beingcontacted by Point Arena Mayor Leslie Dahlhoff and state SenatorJohn Buton, the CCUL's late Vice President of Credit UnionDevelopment Kim Bannan enlisted credit union activist Don Arnold asa consultant to find Point Arena a credit union. Arnold, an Inwoodboard member, brought the town and the credit union together. “Thiswas really a labor of love by the entire community,” said Inwood CUCEO Ron Scott. “The branch was completely refurbished inside andpainted by volunteers locally. The community donated at least$30,000 in labor.” Scott and an advisory committee made up of ninearea residents will continue to help guide the branch's direction,as well as provide volunteer help with non-financial matters.George Bailey, a member of the advisory committee and editor oflocal newspaper the Lighthouse Peddler, designed the branch's floorplan and its external look. “They're calling it their credit unioncottage,” Scott said. In just a week of being open, the branch tookin a little more than $1million in deposits and some 30 accountswere opened during the grand opening barbeque cookout.

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