Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Credit Union in Manatee to Help People Build Credit

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Credit Union in Manatee to Help People Build Credit

Article excerpt

THE MANATEE COMMUNITY Federal Credit Union has received a $21,000 grant to launch a program aimed at helping members build credit.

The National Credit Union Administration issued the grant, one of four to credit unions in Florida and 126 nationwide, designed to help institutions expand services, offer new loan products and provide educational opportunities.

"Low-income credit unions play an essential role in their communities and supporting their work is a priority for NCUA," said NCUA board chairman Debbie Matz. "The credit unions that receive these grants will be extending outreach, growing membership and improving income."

Sherod Halliburton, who is replacing the retiring Cindy Barco as president of Manatee Community, said the grant -- the third-largest in the program -- will fund its credit-builder program, which he described as a step-by-step effort to build credit and enhance savings and financial stability for participants.

The grant also will pay to start a financial wellness platform created by Emerge Financial Wellness, a social enterprise based in San Francisco.

The credit union is looking for employers who want to provide financial wellness benefits to their workers, as well as any organization that works with people who need assistance managing their finances. Costs are covered by the credit union.

The NCUA issued $871,597 to credit unions through the 2013 Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grant.

"We're supporting the kind of innovation that has a direct and positive result on people's lives," said William Myers, director of the Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives, which administers the funds.

Low-income credit unions are often the only insured financial services available to their members, according to NCUA.

Congress established the Revolving Loan Fund to provide grants and loans to credit unions serving low-income communities. It has appropriated $10.4 million in grants since 2001.

Manatee Community, a $28 million-asset credit union known as Tropicana Federal until mid-2010 -- has been working to rebuild its membership in recent years. It was certified by the U. …

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