(October 16, 2008 – San Francisco, CA) On Friday, October 10, 2008, Mission SF Federal Credit Union and its nonprofit affiliate, Mission SF Community Financial Center, held a grand opening celebration of their new retail location at 3269 Mission Street. More than one hundred people attended the event, which featured live Latin music, food from local businesses, and presentations by supporters and partners, including Mission SF members who shared stories of how their lives were transformed through their membership in the credit union.
|From left to right: Salvador Durán, CEO of Mission SF FCU; Anita Macias, SVP at Patelco CU; Federation Board Chairman Eunice J. Rogers, CEO of NRS Community Development FCU; Cliff Rosenthal, Federation President/CEO; and Margaret Libby, Executive Director Mission SF Community Financial Center. (Photo courtesy of the California and Nevada CU Leagues.)
The grand opening was co-sponsored by the Bank on San Francisco program and the Office of San Francisco City Treasurer José Cisneros. Along with Treasurer Cisneros, a number of other local officials spoke at the event, including Assemblymember Mark Leno, City and County Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and representatives from the Mayor’s Office and the Department of Children, Youth and their Families.
A key part of the grand opening celebration included Mission SF FCU’s public recognition of Patelco Credit Union, and particularly Senior Vice President, Anita Macias, whose support made the new office opening possible. In honor of their steadfast support of the community development credit union (CDCU), and the new retail location in particular, Mission SF announced that it would be naming their conference room the Anita Macias, Patelco Credit Union conference room.
At the event, Cliff Rosenthal, President/CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), and Federation Board Chairman Eunice J. Rogers, CEO of NRS Community Development FCU (Birmingham, AL) presented Anita Macias, Senior Vice President at Patelco Credit Union, with a crystal award for her long-time support of CDCUs. The Federation has been promoting partnerships between CDCUs and “mainstream” credit unions since 2003 and Patelco’s partnership with Mission SF FCU and Northeast Community FCU, another CDCU serving San Francisco’s Chinatown, is a model of what credit unions can accomplish by working together.
“The support and encouragement that Anita Macias and Patelco Credit Union have provided in San Francisco really serve as a national example of what's best in the credit union tradition,” said Cliff Rosenthal. “In addition to her local work, Anita has been a valuable volunteer for the Federation, advising our Community Development Investment Program, which has placed millions of dollars in CDCUs across the country. She is one of the true champions of the cooperative movement, and we’re fortunate to have worked so closely with her over the years.”
Rita Fillingane, Director of Research and Information at the California Credit Union League, a key coordinator of the California Credit Union Network for Community Development (CUNCD), and Traci Olszowy, Membership Director at the California Credit Union League were also in attendance.
Credit Union Partnership Brings Affordable Financial Services to the Mission
With more than half of Mission residents being unbanked (without a formal relationship with a mainstream financial institution) and nearly half of residents having no credit histories at all, there is a critical and urgent need for financial education, credit building and repair programs, and small short term affordable loans, particularly in these turbulent economic times.
According to San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros, “Never before has it been more critical to ensure that people have opportunities to learn how to manage and save their money and get a shot at the American Dream. Mission SF offers a set of financial products and services for low-income and immigrant San Franciscans that create real pathways to financial security and economic self-sufficiency.”
Mission SF FCU is an $8 million-in-assets community development credit union serving more than 2,000 community members. Founded in 1971, Mission SF FCU is the only not-for-profit, community-owned financial institution dedicated to meeting the needs of working class people and immigrants in the Mission Area, providing them with quality and affordable services and products designed to build and repair credit, reduce debt and build assets. For over 30 years the credit union has served its community out of a third story office in a local labor building. The off-street locale rendered Mission SF FCU a fairly well-kept secret, that is, until now.
The CDCU’s affordable financial alternatives are now available to the community in a new, more visible and accessible street-level retail location on 3269 Mission Street, the community’s commercial and cultural center. Patelco Credit Union, a nearly $5 billion-in-assets industry leader, supported Mission SF’s expansion with critical funds and technical assistance.
Entrance to Mission SF's new retail location.
“This new office makes us much more visible to the community, so we can reach more people and help them with their financial situations. We have seen more and more people coming in since opening our doors here, and that means we are meeting our mission to help people,” explained Salvador Durán, Manager/CEO of Mission SF Federal Credit Union.
The increased visibility and outreach capacity has produced dramatic results in a very short time. Since the doors opened in February 2008, Mission SF tripled the number of loans it makes each month, with loans starting as low as $300; they doubled the number of new members joining monthly, with 30% of those new members opening their first account ever; they dramatically expanded a financial education program that has engaged over 14 community-based organizations, 200 adults and more than 125 youth; and most recently, they launched a new microlending program for immigrant entrepreneurs with support from the Mayor’s Office of Community Investment.
Mission SF FCU’s and Mission SF Community Financial Center’s activities are also supported in large part from Patelco funds, as well as support from the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families, the Levi Strauss Foundation, Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation, the National Credit Union Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, The Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Community Investment and Youth Funding Youth Ideas.
Mission SF consists of Mission SF Federal Credit Union and Mission SF Community Financial Center. As partners, their purpose is to achieve financial justice and economic opportunity in the Mission. According to Mission SF, financial justice means all people having access to affordable and appropriate financial services; the availability of education and training to become literate and empowered consumers; and the reduction of the predatory financial services so readily available today. For more information about the credit union or to join, please visit: www.mission.coop.
Mission SF Community Financial Center provides financial education, community outreach to raise awareness about fringe outlets and youth leadership programs to engage youth early. The Center operates a nationally recognized Youth Credit Union Program (YCUP), a leadership and savings program for children and youth. The YCUP, which has 500 members under 18, $85,000 in assets and a staff of 5 young people, has recently added two new programs: a training arm, Youth Trainers for Economic Power, which employs 9 youth trainers to teach other community youth about smart money management and financial services decision-making; and a market research arm, the Action Research Committee, which conducted focus groups and surveys to identify youth attitudes and habits related to saving and spending.