POINT ARENA, Calif. – It took not only a town but also the California Credit Union League and credit union leaders to help bring back financial services here. The city purchased an ATM and credit union staffers and locals literally worked side-by-side to helped build the facility. Residents haven’t had a branch here since Westamerica Bank closed its doors in February 2003, leaving many of the 3,700 households in the surround area no choice but to drive 32 miles round trip to the nearest bank. After being contacted by Point Arena Mayor Leslie Dahlhoff and state Senator John Buton, the CCUL’s late Vice President of Credit Union Development Kim Bannan enlisted credit union activist Don Arnold as a consultant to find Point Arena a credit union. Arnold, an Inwood board member, brought the town and the credit union together. “This was really a labor of love by the entire community,” said Inwood CU CEO Ron Scott. “The branch was completely refurbished inside and painted by volunteers locally. The community donated at least $30,000 in labor.” Scott and an advisory committee made up of nine area 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 of local newspaper the Lighthouse Peddler, designed the branch’s floor plan and its external look. “They’re calling it their credit union cottage,” Scott said. In just a week of being open, the branch took in a little more than $1million in deposits and some 30 accounts were opened during the grand opening barbeque cookout.

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