Self-Help Shares

The Credit Union Difference

By staff
  | Oct 28, 2021

Last week we at Self-Help joined credit unions all over the world in celebrating International Credit Union Day – more about that below. First, we want to give you an update on a member we’ve featured in this space before: Mr. Lee Curry, a resident of the Chatham neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. On October 22, Mr. Curry celebrated his 102nd birthday!

Sadly, in advance of Mr. Curry’s birthday we received a note from one of our managers, April Snow, telling us that Mr. Curry is not doing well. After a lifetime of living independently, he recently moved to a health care facility. We are thinking of him and praying for his health and strength.

Mr. Curry gardening

Mr. Curry has spent countless hours in his garden and often helps neighbors garden, too. Photo: Andrea V. Watson

Mr. Curry became a customer of Seaway Bank many decades ago because he trusted that he could deposit his money there and receive fair and affordable services. We have been delighted and humbled that Seaway, now a division of Self-Help Federal Credit Union, has continued to earn Mr. Curry’s trust. At age 100 and beyond, Mr. Curry continued to visit us to do his banking, where he received VIP treatment every time.

We know that Mr. Curry is just one of many close relationships Self-Help branch staff have with members. All our branch staff have stories about members that have become like family. We get to know each other over time, and as we help members’ savings grow and provide loans for cars, homes and the holidays, we also have the privilege of hearing about their joys and concerns. We watch their children grow up, and we worry about them when they’re not well, as with Mr. Curry.  

Taking Care of Each Other.  During this time of the pandemic, it has been hard to be more distant from our members as we put safety first. Early in the pandemic, we expanded our remote services and encouraged members to use drive-thru service when possible. We also modified loan terms, deferred loan payments and waived fees for members impacted by illness and job losses. Today we are welcoming members in our branches when they wear a mask. We miss seeing their smiles, but we know that right now the most important thing is to take care of each other.   

Credit unions have always embodied the philosophy of “People Helping People.” If you’re a member or a partner, you probably know why credit unions are different.

  • We are member-owned, so we aren’t beholden to shareholders—member success and our success are one and the same.
  • Members enjoy lower fees and higher interest on deposits.
  • We get to know members and partner with people who are striving to build credit and achieve greater empowerment and prosperity.
  • At Self-Help, our mission makes us different, too, as we work every day to expand financial opportunities for people who have faced systemic barriers to building wealth.

This is a long way of saying that last week we had a great celebration of International Credit Union Day. Since 1948, credit unions around the world have recognized this day on the third Thursday in October and celebrated the history and achievements of credit unions. At Self-Help, we have a tradition of providing special treats or giveaways to our members, just a small way to say thanks for being part of Self-Help. We had celebrations in all our Self-Help Credit Union branches (locations in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia) and Self-Help Federal Credit Union branches (locations in California, Illinois, Wisconsin and Washington state).

Here are just a few snapshots from our celebration of International Credit Union Day:

Brevard, NC - 1


Brevard, NC - 2

Above photos: In Brevard, NC, our staff delivered lunch to members in the parking lot. 


Charlotte - First Legacy branch

Charlotte, NC 


Columbia-Bush River branch

Columbia, SC

Galax, VA

Galax, VA


Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC


Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, FL



Laurinburg, NC


Wilmington, CA

Wilmington, CA


Wilmington, NC

Wilmington, NC

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