RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Altura Credit Union is hoping its latestbranch will make a big difference to an area historicallyunderserved by financial institutions. Altura Credit Union'sCoachella branch is the first credit union and only the secondfull-service financial institution serving Coachella and theunincorporated communities in the surrounding desert. The newcredit union branch is the result of a unique partnership betweenthe Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment, Altura CU, the U.S.Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the City ofCoachella to expand access to financial services in this rural areaof Riverside County. It is estimated the community, which consistsof an underserved population that is 95% Hispanic, has some 200 to300 new residents each month. “We are thrilled that this new branchhas finally come to fruition,” said Altura CU President/CEO MarkHawkins. “It represents what credit unions are all about, servingthe community. We are committed to assisting our members andexpanding our services to potential new members in communities andpopulations that otherwise might have only limited access tofinancial services. We also are excited to be part of acollaborative process between government agencies, privatecompanies and nonprofit community organizations to make this newbranch a reality and assist the people in this fast-growingcommunity.” The more than $570,000 in funding to restore a historic1920s firehouse to house the branch was provided by sourcesincluding USDA Rural Development through its Rural BusinessEnterprise Grant program, the City of Coachella RedevelopmentAgency, DACE, and Altura CU through a grant it received from theNational Credit Union Foundation. The firehouse will also houseRancho Good Neighbor Services, a program of Rancho Housing Alliancethat promotes self-sufficiency through home ownership and financialliteracy. Altura CU will offer residents here a full range offinancial services from checking and savings to mortgage, auto andbusiness lending programs.

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