A Durham-based credit union founded to help low-income and minority borrowers continues to expand its operations in California during the downturn.
Self-Help Federal Credit Union bought Kern Central Credit Union, a failed lender in Bakersfield, Calif., with three branches and about $35 million in assets. The deal was arranged by the National Credit Union Administration, which seized Kern and transferred its assets and members to Self-Help.
It's the fourth California credit union Self-Help has taken over during the past 18 months. The nonprofit now manages 18 credit union branches in North Carolina and California and has 50,000 members.
Kern's three branches will be merged into Community Trust Credit Union, a division of Self-Help focused on the Central Valley and Bay Area regions of California. The Central Valley, including Kern County and Bakersfield, has been hit hard by the recession and housing bust.
"Kern's strong management, experience and tradition of promoting services for working families enhances our ongoing activity in this arena," said Steve Zuckerman, managing director of Self-Help's California operations, in a prepared statement. Combined, the company will work to enhance "financial services to low-income communities across California."
Self-Help Federal Credit Union is an arm of the Durham-based Community Center for Self-Help, a nonprofit group founded in 1980 by Martin Eakes. Another division, the Center for Responsible Lending, works to help homeowners avoid foreclosure and lobbies for tougher consumer protections.
Self-Help "shares our culture, mission and dedication to best serve our members," said Kern CEO Carl Trejo. In 1995, Kern merged with the United Farm Workers Credit Union, founded by the late activist Cesar Chavez.