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DURHAM, N.C. — The Center for Community Self Help’s CU expansion to the West Coast has been so successful another CU is seeking a merger with Self-Help Federal Credit Union.The Center for Community Self-Help founded both the $300 million, state-chartered Self-Help Credit Union in Durham and the newly launched $10 Million Self-Help FCU in Oakland, Calif.The community development lender launched SelfHelp FCU in July 2008 with a $5 million investment of its own funds. The $5 million from Self-Help consisted of a $2.5 million equity investment and $2.5 million in secondary capital.Self-Help launched the federal credit union to help it build a lending presence on the West Coast and to support an office Self-Help launched in Oakland in September 2006, according to Steve Zuckerman, manager of Self-Help’s California operations.Since its opening day, Self-Help FCU has been busy. Even before it was chartered, Self-Help representatives had begun talking to the $3.5 million People’s Community Partnership FCU, another relatively young FCU headquartered in Oakland about the possibility of merging. The two credit unions completed their merger two months after the NCUA chartered SHFCU and have been hard at work since ironing out the details of merging the two organizations,Zuckerman said.Zuckerman joined David Beck, spokesman for the state-chartered Self-Help CU, in explaining that the organization decided to charter afederal credit union because it wanted the ability to make loans to members who live outside North Carolinawhile maintaining Self-Help CU’sstate charter.“We have a very long history as a state-chartered credit union and very good relations with the state regulator,” Beck said. “So we wanted to both expand our lending and still keep our home charter.”“Over the past eight years, People’s has become an important institution serving the Oakland flatlands. We’re excited to have found a partner who so closely shares People’s community development mission. We’re confident that with Self-Help, People’s will flourish and be able to serve our community for years to come,” said Elissa Dennis, a People’s founding board member and previous board chair.“This merger will allow People’s to expand our range of services to Oakland families,” said People’s Branch Manager Sherry Alexander. “As a relatively young institution, we can now confidently move forward in a difficult financial environment with a superb partner in Self-Help.”“People’s has earned an outstanding reputation in Oakland,” Zuckerman said at the time themerger was concluded. “This merger will provide People’s the benefit of Self-Help’s broad lending experience and allow Self-Help to better serve low-wealth California families.”Zuckerman said there had been some challenges to charter and complete a credit union merger 2,000 miles away from the sponsoring organization, but added that Self-Help already runs seven branches across North Carolina and so was familiar with setting up new branches.He also said that the larger, state-chartered Self-Help would serve as a back-office sponsor for the federal credit union, helping with a lot of the business activities that both credit unions share and sparing the smaller institution the expense of duplicating it.–[email protected]

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