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Self-Help Federal Credit Union
Closing the Wealth Gap
L-R:  Karen Woods, Director of Homeownership Services, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago; Ronald Branch, President/Broker at RLB Realty Group, Inc., and past President of National Association of Real Estate Brokers; Al Bass, President, Seaway; Darlene Hill, former Fox 32 news anchor; Courtney Q. Jones, partner and owner for Chicago Homes Realty Group and President of Dearborn Realtist® Board; Megan Moore, Special Assistant, Office of the Director of the Federal Housing Finanace Agency; Gloria Wright, Mortgage Loan Officer at Seaway.
Fifty years after the Fair Housing Act was signed into law, homeownership in African American communities still lags behind national averages. A 2017 Chicago Tribune article noted that black homeownership rates have dropped to levels not seen since the 1960’s. Knowing the positive impact owning a home can have on a family’s ability to achieve their financial goals, Seaway, a Division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, wants to see more Chicagoans have that opportunity. 
On April 5, 2018, in partnership with the
Dearborn Realtist® Board, the local chapter of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, Inc. (NAREB), Seaway hosted a presentation and panel discussion entitled “Closing the Wealth Gap through Homeownership.” The panel was moderated by Peabody Award-winning news anchor Darlene Hill, who shared a personal testimonial on how she received her first mortgage from Seaway over twenty years ago. 
Approximately 100 real estate professionals and community leaders were in attendance. The program included a moderated panel discussion, a delicious lunch, and all participants committed their support for the Dearborn Realtist® Board’s campaign to create 2 million new Black homeowners over the next five years. 
The panelists included Megan Moore (Special Assistant, Office of the Director, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Washington, DC), Courtney Jones (President Dearborn Realtist® Board), Frank J. Williams (Past President, Dearborn Realtist® Board, Chicago Association of Realtors and NAACP Southside Chicago), Gloria Wright (Seaway Mortgage Loan Officer), Karen Woods (Director, Homeownership Services, Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago), and Al Bass (Self-Help EVP and Seaway Interim President).
Salvador TorronesSalvador Terrones of San Diego, California is thriving as a college student and licensed Realtor, but he didn’t reach this point easily.  Raised in the foster care system, Salvador grew up in an impoverished community with few opportunities. The words “savings,” “credit score,” and “budget” were not part of his vocabulary.
Arriving at San Diego State University, Salvador learned it was easy to get credit cards and he began spending more than he should, damaging his credit. Thanks to his connection to a local nonprofit,
Just in Time for Foster Youth, Sal enrolled in their Financial Fitness program. The program pairs students with a mentor and teaches the basics of money management. It also offers a savings matching program, which Salvador took advantage of, and eventually built savings of $9,000. 
Sal’s mentor connected him, as well as other former foster youth, with our City Heights, San Diego, California, branch, where he took out a 12-month
Fresh Start Loan.  We met up with Salvador after five on-time monthly payments to see how things are going; his credit score is rising and he is talking about his plans to mentor others when he graduates from college. Meet Salvador and hear more of his story here.
West Oakland, California is a food desert, with residents spending about 70% of their grocery dollars annually – an estimated $42 million – outside the neighborhood.  For more than 40 years the residents have not had a full-service supermarket.  That’s about to change.  Community Foods Market, formerly known as People’s Community Market, broke ground on April 16, at its future location at 3105 San Pablo Avenue.
The project was spearheaded by Brahm Ahmadi, who co-founded People’s Grocery in 2002, a community food project that hoped to create a brick-and-mortar grocery store in the underserved community.  After 16 years of working to achieve this goal, the new grocery store is scheduled to open in the Fall of this year. 
Community Foods will partner with Fresh Life Foundation as the programmatic arm of the store, providing health services such as diabetes screening, nutrition and dietary counseling, and asthmatic-related services for children and seniors.  In addition, there will be a prepared foods section and a neighborhood café which will open one hour earlier and close one hour later than the grocery store, with live music, guest speakers, movie showings and an array of events paired with dinner programs. 
It is a privilege for Self-Help to have played a role in financing this project alongside two other great community development lenders --
Northern California Community Loan Fund (NCCLF) and California FreshWorks -- and hundreds of individual investors who placed their faith in this ambitious endeavor.  We’re also thrilled to be partnering with East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC).  Community Foods Market is an anchor participant in their San Pablo Area Revitalization Collective (SPARC), and EBALDC is playing an active advisory role in the development of the market. 
here to learn more about this transformative project and to keep updated on its progress.
Community Foods
Community Foods
Top: Community Foods architectural rendering. Left: A special community blessing and ground breaking ceremony. Photo courtesy of Martin Backhauss and Maven Bourque. Right: A Community Foods sign posted at the construction site for the new grocery store, letting the neighborhood know it's coming!
  • Mark your calendars. Our 2017 Annual Report and Impact Statement are now available online. Click here to learn more.
  • Mark your calendars. Our Annual Meeting will take place on November 8, 2018, in our Modesto, California branch. More details will be included with the quarterly member account statements.
  • Do you want to talk to a financial counselor about managing your debt or improving your credit score? Or get a financial “check up” to see how you’re doing and get a little help planning your financial future? Call BALANCE and speak with a certified counselor at 1-888-456-2227. Click here to learn more about the free financial counseling services available to all Credit Union members and their families.
  • While many of our branches have been serving their local communities for 50 years or more, Self-Help Federal Credit Union as an institution is turning 10 years old on July 11, 2018. Come help us celebrate at a branch location near you!
  • Our Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) sites in our West Oakland, Pittsburg, Wilmington California branches finished out the 2018 tax year preparing a total of 1,379 tax returns, which generated $1,538,831 in refunds to community households. A big thank you to the many volunteers who worked to achieve these results. We couldn’t have done it without you!
  • Since 2004 Self-Help has merged with over 20 financial institutions. When these credit unions and banks joined us, they brought their own unique histories of community empowerment. Click here to enter our “Vault” and watch some of the stories we’ve thus far developed.  More to come in the future.
  • All Self-Help Federal Credit Union members receive a $100 cash reward for every new line. Find out more.
  • Career Opportunities – Do you like what we do at Self-Help Federal? Interested in joining our team, or know someone who might be? Click here for a list of our current job openings.
If you are a member, consider downloading our Self-Help Federal CU Mobile App. We heard you when you said that you wanted a more robust app, so we delivered! This upgrade offers many valuable features that will make your mobile life so much easier. Available to all members enrolled in Online Banking.  Download it today!
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Self-Help Federal Credit Union
1970 Broadway, Suite 350
Oakland, CA 94590

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