Little CDCU Is Big Deal For Start-Up Self-Help FCU

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SAN FRANCISCO – Mission SF FCU may have a small membership – just 2,500 – but the one-time $9 million credit union that failed Friday will provide a big footprint in the Bay City for two-year-old Self-Help FCU, which agreed to acquire the remnants of the community development credit union.

For Self-Help FCU, a sister to North Carolina’s well-known Self-Help CU, Mission SF is the seventh troubled CDCU it has acquired since its September 2008 chartering but one of its most important. That’s because Self-Help will inherit a close working relationship with Mission SF’s non-profit partner, Mission SF Community Financial Center. The non-profit operates two nationally-recognized savings programs for low-income children and youth, PLAY and MY Path, and an adult financial counseling program through a partnership with SingleStop USA and Schwab.

“For more than 40 years, we’ve been providing an on-ramp to the financial services mainstream and a local community-based financial services option to our diverse membership, offering wealth-building opportunities to children, youth and adults alike,” said Leslie Chard, chairman of the Mission SF board.

Since its chartering, Self-Help FCU has combined the operations of seven credit unions in California: People’s Community Partnership FCU in Oakland; Community Trust CU in Modesto; El Futuro CU in Porterville; Kern Central CU in Bakersfield; United Savings FCU in Antioch; 1st Pacific CU in Vallejo; and now Mission SF. During that time, the CDCU start-up has built to about $375 million in assets, making it one of the biggest CDCUs in the nation.

As were the other CDCU acquisitions, Mission SF was teetering on the brink. Chartered in 1971 to serve low-income Latino immigrants in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, it lost $370,000 in each of the past two years and had less than 1% net worth upon liquidation, as its assets had declined to just $6 million.

Similar to its North Carolina sister, Self-Help FCU is sponsored by the Community for Self-Help in Durham, which also is sponsor of the Self-Help Ventures Fund and the consumer lobby the Center for Responsible Lending.


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