Self-Help Shares

Get a Money Makeover with Free Financial Advice

By Mary M.
  | Jun 02, 2016

OnTrack WNC financial counseling sessions

As we enter bathing suit weather in North Carolina, many people think about shedding pounds, but it’s also a great time to shed debt and plan for rainy days. Nearly everyone would like to be in better shape financially—but how?  At Self-Help, we offer several ways members can get help with finances.

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Match-Making in Durham: Self-Help and MDC Host Event to Attract Marrow Donors

By Mary M.
  | May 20, 2016

Brittany Bennett, participant in the event

Every day thousands of people get diagnosed with a life-threatening blood disease such as leukemia or lymphoma. Many cases can be cured with a marrow or stem cell transplant, but it’s crucial to find a donor with a matching tissue type. Potential donors simply need to register and get a tissue test with a fast, easy swab of their cheek. 

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FOCUS: Fair Pay for Restaurant Workers

By Mary M.
  | May 05, 2016

The restaurant industry is booming nationwide and in North Carolina, providing lots of employment opportunities: about 350,000 workers prepare and serve food in NC restaurants. Unfortunately, too many of these jobs don’t pay a living wage. In NC, one in three restaurant workers lives under the poverty line. About 80% get no earned sick pay, and therefore must choose between working while sick or falling short on their bills.*  Earnings from tips are hit-or-miss, and tipping results in inequities for both restaurant customers and servers.

These were among the issues that prompted a recent public forum dubbed “Forked Durham.”

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Where We've Been, Where We're Going

By Martin E.
  | Apr 26, 2016

Dear Members and Friends,


We’re only in the second quarter, but already this has been an eventful year. In January, Self-Help Federal Credit Union merged with Community Trust Federal Credit Union, a small institution with a large local impact serving farmworkers in rural Apopka, Florida. In February, we launched a new mortgage program (The Affordable Loan Solution™) with Bank of America and Freddie Mac, and we are expanding that program with other partners to be announced soon.  Most recently, Self-Help Credit Union merged with Greater Piedmont Credit Union, a North Carolina credit union with 6,000 members representing a dozen employers.

These recent events built on a strong performance last year – for a fun summary, see our 2015 Online Annual Report.  Last year, we made $308 million in loans that helped create new homeowners, launched small businesses, revitalized neighborhoods and expanded community facilities such as charter schools and child care centers. We’ve also increased our focus on financing for clean energy and improving access to healthy foods. Together, Self Help Credit Union and Self-Help Federal Credit Union now provide fair and affordable services to 125,000 members in North Carolina, California, Illinois and Florida. 

While providing direct banking services in the states we serve, we also fight for fair lending everywhere.

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Banking on the Greater Good: Self-Help Seminar Brings Community Lenders Together

By Mary M.
  | Apr 15, 2016

Neill Goslin at the Community Development Banking Seminar
Self-Help’s Neil Goslin, Director of Development, kicks off this year’s Community Development Banking Seminar.

What do you get when you cross a financial institution with a passion for building stronger communities?

You get a community development banker. And Self-Help had the honor of hosting more than two dozen of them this week as community development professionals from all over the country attended our Community Development Banking Seminar. 

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Bringing Healthy Foods to a Food Desert

By Mary M.
  | Mar 23, 2016

Today if residents of northeast Greensboro want fresh food, they must walk several miles or take a cab—but that’s about to change. On March 16, Self-Help and Renaissance Community Co-op signed a 10-year lease for a 10,530-square-foot grocery store in the Renaissance Shops at Phillips Avenue.  

Self-Help has partnered with the City of Greensboro to revitalize a nearly-abandoned shopping center that is now becoming Renaissance Shops. The first new tenant will be a cooperative store that brings fresh, healthy food to a neighborhood that has spent nearly 20 years working to get a local grocery store.

Lease signed on Renaissance Shops.


John M. Jones, Renaissance Community Co-op board president, holds up the 10-year lease with Kim Cameron, director of real estate for Self-Help Ventures. Photo credit: Fund for Democratic Communities (F4DC).
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Self-Help Credit Union Offers 2016 Community Scholarships

By Connie C.
  | Mar 11, 2016


When people are making their communities a better place while pursuing more education, we want to help. Each of the 18 Self-Help branches in North Carolina will award a $500 scholarship to a local student enrolled in an accredited post-secondary educational institution.  Eligible institutions include colleges, universities, technical, trade and vocational schools. (view additional guidelines and requirements)

Applications and a 300 word essay must be returned by May 6, 2016 to a local branch or returned to the address shown on the application. (For 2016 Community Scholarship Application click here).

See many of last year's scholarship winners here.


Loans to Build Savings and Good Credit

By Mary M.
  | Mar 09, 2016

Building good credit is a process that takes time and patience. To give people an extra boost, both Self Help Credit Union and our affiliate, Self-Help Federal Credit Union (SHFCU), offer loans specifically designed to help members build or establish a good credit history.

The Self Help Credit Union loan is called Credit Builder. In California, Chicago and Florida, Self-Help Federal CU calls it the “Fresh Start” loan.  Both of these loans work the same way:

  • Customers take out a loan they can afford.
  • The loan funds go into a limited-access savings account.
  • As customers pay off the loan, Self-Help reports the repayments to credit agencies.
  • When the loan is paid off, customers receive the full amount of the loan, plus dividends.

Recently, with funding from MetLife Foundation, Self-Help conducted a study to assess the effectiveness of the Fresh Start loan. We found that the Fresh Start loan has boosted credit score for 70% of borrowers. Find out more about the study here, as well as general information about the components of a credit score. 

Fresh Start cover

Get an Internship with Self-Help

By David B.
  | Feb 19, 2016

It's internship application time at Self-Help - something we take very seriously. We believe that providing opportunity for students to experience work in the community development field is good for them and good for us! Our Durham office is especially fortunate to be close so many wonderful universities. 

Maggie West and member, Community Empowerment Fund Former intern and Community Empowerment Fund founder Maggie West with a CEF member
Many of our interns go on to become full-time staff at Self-Help, work for other community development financial institutions (CDFIs) or do other great things. Former intern Maggie West is a great example. She went on to found the Community Empowerment Fund, a student-powered nonprofit organization focused on enabling and sustaining transitions out of homelessness and poverty. 


We also believe it's important to pay interns. After all, they do valuable work for us! The deadline to apply for this summer's internships is February 26. You can find more information on our careers page


Celebrating Black History Month in North Carolina

By Anthony S.
  | Feb 18, 2016

Self-Help’s mission is to create and protect ownership and economic opportunity for all, especially people of color, women, rural residents and low-wealth families and communities. With that in mind, we are recognizing February as Black History Month by featuring a small bit of North Carolina’s African-American history in connection with some of the cities where we have branches.


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