News Column

Self-Help to get traditional retail banking branch in Durham

July 8, 2014

By Laura Oleniacz, The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.



July 08--DURHAM -- With the acquisition of a Durham-based credit union primarily serving rural, underserved communities, Self-Help Credit Union gained a traditional retail banking branch in the Bull City.

Durham-based Self-Help Credit Union acquired Durham-based Generations Community Credit Union on April 1, according to a joint announcement.

With the acquisition, Generations Community Credit Union's four branches in Durham, Roanoke Rapids, Washington and Windsor will become Self-Help branches.

And soon, all Self-Help Credit Union customers in Durham are also expected to be able to benefit from the addition of Generations' downtown branch at 123 W. Main St to Self-Help's branch network.

"This will be a big step in convenience for our members in Durham," said David Beck, a spokesman for Self-Help. He said that while Self-Help Credit Union members in Durham can currently use the credit union's headquarters at 301 W. Main St. downtown to make a deposit or for other services, the credit union doesn't have a traditional retail branch in the city where customers can take out cash.

Generations members are still using the downtown branch now, Beck said. After the credit union's operations and systems are fully converted in-line with the merger, the branch will open to all Self-Help Credit Union members as well.

The conversion of Generations' system is expected to be completed by July, Beck said, and the branch is expected to open to all Self-Help Credit Union members in August. The credit union is also expected to hold a grand opening for the branch.

"At the beginning of August, all Self-Help Credit Union members will be able to use that branch," Beck said.

According to information posted on its website, Generations Community Credit Union merged with Self-Help at a "challenging" economic time for financial institutions.

Generations had a total of about $20.17 million in assets in first quarter in the year, according to National Credit Union Administration information. That total was down about 14 percent year-over-year.

And the credit union went from turning a profit of $290 in the first quarter last year to posting a net loss of $142,481 in the first quarter of this year.

"It's just hard for small, rural financial institutions to really be profitable right now," Beck said, explaining that the credit union formed in 2002 to benefit from economies of scale.

Generations was formed to keep troubled credit unions alive, according to its website. It grew to incorporate a total of 10 different credit unions, many in rural areas, through mergers.

According to the announcement, most of the 10 credit unions were originally founded to serve African-Americans at a time when they were denied access to other financial institutions.

"This merger enhances our financial stability and enhances us to better serve the members of the credit union," information on Generations' website said. "Self-Help is similar to Generations in mission and dedication to best serve its members; these aspects, as well as strong financial position, create a very good partnership."

At the end of the first quarter in March, Self-Help had total assets of more than $658.8 million, and a profit of nearly $2.35 million. The credit union's assets grew by nearly 16 percent year-over-year, while its profits were up 262 percent.

"It was a good move for their members, and for us to be able to provide them with a wider range of products and branches," Beck said.

The acquisition brought Self-Help's total number of retail branches in North Carolina to 20, according to the announcement, and increased its membership to 59,000. The merger was the eighth for Self-Help in the past 10 years.

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(c)2014 The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.)

Visit The Herald-Sun (Durham, N.C.) at www.heraldsun.com

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Source: Herald-Sun (Durham, NC)


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