RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Altura Credit Union is hoping its latest branch will make a big difference to an area historically underserved by financial institutions. Altura Credit Union’s Coachella branch is the first credit union and only the second full-service financial institution serving Coachella and the unincorporated communities in the surrounding desert. The new credit union branch is the result of a unique partnership between the Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment, Altura CU, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development and the City of Coachella to expand access to financial services in this rural area of Riverside County. It is estimated the community, which consists of an underserved population that is 95% Hispanic, has some 200 to 300 new residents each month. “We are thrilled that this new branch has finally come to fruition,” said Altura CU President/CEO Mark Hawkins. “It represents what credit unions are all about, serving the community. We are committed to assisting our members and expanding our services to potential new members in communities and populations that otherwise might have only limited access to financial services. We also are excited to be part of a collaborative process between government agencies, private companies and nonprofit community organizations to make this new branch a reality and assist the people in this fast-growing community.” The more than $570,000 in funding to restore a historic 1920s firehouse to house the branch was provided by sources including USDA Rural Development through its Rural Business Enterprise Grant program, the City of Coachella Redevelopment Agency, DACE, and Altura CU through a grant it received from the National Credit Union Foundation. The firehouse will also house Rancho Good Neighbor Services, a program of Rancho Housing Alliance that promotes self-sufficiency through home ownership and financial literacy. Altura CU will offer residents here a full range of financial services from checking and savings to mortgage, auto and business lending programs.

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