Self-Help Credit Union

Underserved Communities


Meeting the Need for Responsible Financial Services

Too many communities across the country lack access to affordable financial services.  When quality choices aren’t available, predatory lenders and high-fee check cashers often thrive.  Self-Help intentionally locates branches in underserved communities, and we extend our service through mobile technology and partnerships with local groups.  We also serve neighborhoods by financing community development projects and rehabilitating historic buildings in areas that have suffered from disinvestment and blight.  

Over the past decade, our credit union network has grown significantly as we respond to the need for basic, affordable banking services.  Self-Help Credit Union and Self-Help Federal Credit Union have merged with 16 credit unions and one bank to create a network of over 49 branches serving over 130,000 people in North Carolina, California, Illinois, Florida, and Wisconsin.

Working in California, Illinois, and Florida – Examples

  • On May 1, 2017, the branch operations of Seaway Bank and Trust became a Division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union.  Known for its rich community history, the bank was established in 1965 as Seaway National Bank of Chicago.  It was created to counter discriminatory lending practices on Chicago’s South Side. Self-Help will continue the mission to provide quality products and services and build relationships that create and protect economic opportunity in the communities we serve.  We welcome Seaway to the Self-Help Family with 6 branches in the Greater Chicago area and one branch in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

  • In 2017 Self-Help Federal opened a full-service credit union in San Diego’s City Heights neighborhood.  The credit union has been successful in linking low-income residents to safe and affordable financial services.  We offer transnational services, credit union accounts, and loans that meet the community residents’ needs in a responsible and culturally appropriate manner.  When federal regulators closed a Chicago savings and loan in a Latino neighborhood, Self-Help Federal partnered with community organizations to keep the branches open, assist borrowers and preserve a key financial resource for the neighborhood
  • In early 2016 Self-Help Federal merged with Community Trust Federal Credit Union, formed in 1982 to serve Florida’s farm-workers.  While the Community Trust merger brings Self-Help Federal its first branches in Florida, we have long served low-income communities in the state.  We’ve partnered with local banks to help thousands of Floridians become homeowners and financed public charter schools in Florida, serving nearly 20,000 low-income children.
  • In 2015 Self-Help Federal, in partnership with the Fresno EOC, opened a full-service credit union in southern Fresno, California.  The credit union has been successful in linking low-income residents to safe and affordable financial services.  We offer transnational services, credit union accounts, and loans that meet the community residents’ needs in a responsible -= and culturally appropriate – manner.
  • When federal regulators closed a Chicago savings and loan in a Latino neighborhood, Self-Help Federal partnered with community organizations to keep the branches open, assist borrowers and preserve a key financial resource for the neighborhood.
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