Toledo Urban Federal Credit Union, a 15-year-old community development credit union in Ohio, is asking the public for a helping hand, an unusual request to keep the struggling credit union alive.

Toldeo Urban, with net worth of just 3%, is launching a community fund-raising drive for $250,000 that would boost dwindling cash reserves. The $3.5 million-asset credit union plans to send letters to the community pleading its case on why it should survive and is asking for public donations. It hopes to raise the funds by late September.

"We're taking individual donations — anything. No donation is too small," said Suzette Cowell, Toledo Urban's president.

Ironically, the rare public plea comes as leaders of this hard-hit city's Latino community are poised to open the first branch of the Nueva Esperanza Community Credit Union. The branch will be in a former insurance agency office.

Nueva Esperanza has been operating out of an office of Directions Credit Union and Champion Federal Credit Union, which helped organize the new charter.

The community development credit union began with $1.3 million of deposits and about $180,000 in initial capital. Most of the funding came from local businesses, individuals and community foundations.

Now, it has $1.5 million of deposits and more than 80 members.

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