Forty years ago, in February 1980, Self-Help started as the Center for Community Self-Help. Maybe you know the story ... Self-Help began as an effort to help worker-owned businesses. In one of our earliest ventures, we raised $77 in a bake sale organized by workers we assisted in New Bern, NC (pictured above). Our founders, Martin Eakes and his wife Bonnie Wright, quickly realized that workers couldn’t get far without affordable financing. Thus, Self-Help Credit Union started with the mission of lending to the under-served and expanding economic opportunity.
When we began, we never would have imagined all the challenges and joys that lay ahead. Over the years, we have been privileged to lend $8.5 billion to help families buy their first home, support small entrepreneurs in realizing their dreams, and invest in communities that have been ignored.
We’ve also been able to join forces with other community-based credit unions that needed a partner in today’s high-tech, high pressure financial environment. As we celebrate our anniversary, we remember that many of our merged partners started long before we did. We’re proud of their legacies, including Turbine Federal Credit Union (Greenville, South Carolina) and First Legacy Community Credit Union (Charlotte, North Carolina) that have joined our family most recently.
To kick off our anniversary celebration, our branches hosted a Member Appreciation Day on February 14. Here's a sample of photos from branches in Galax, Virginia; Wilmington, Wilson, Charlotte and South Asheville, NC.
We’ll be celebrating with various activities through the year, always with appreciation for YOU—all the members who own Self-Help. Thanks to all of our members, partners and friends for making our work possible for the past four decades!