On the corner of US-441 and Cabell Lane is a vacant lot with a little slice of nature and a small hill in the midst of a lot of cement, streets, and businesses on its way to the 415. There used to be a Jamaican restaurant there, but now it’s going to be home to the hopes, dreams, and economic opportunity for underprivileged communities in Apopka.

 Yesterday, the Self-Help Federal Credit Union, which Apopka’s Community Trust Federal Credit Union joined in 2016, broke ground on its new branch at 667 West Orange Blossom Trail. The new branch’s improved size and visibility (compared to the current location at 825 South Park Ave.) will help the credit union to more fully serve its members. 

Speakers at the groundbreaking included Apopka City Commissioner Diane Velazquez,  Apopka Area Chamber of Commerce President Robert Agrusa, Sister Ann Kendrick, a founder of Community Trust FCU, and Adelcio Lugo, Regional Branch Manager for Self-Help Credit Union. 

“Breaking ground on this new branch is an important step in Self-Help’s work to build on Community Trust’s legacy with farmworkers and others in Apopka,” said Lugo. “Sister Ann and her sister’s work in helping provide financial services to those in need is truly inspirational and Self-Help is honored to help further that mission.” 

The groundbreaking marks a new chapter in transformative community work for Self-Help in Apopka and extends the Community Trust legacy of helping working families gain access to mainstream financial services. The full-service branch will ensure members use of state of the art banking technology, equipment, and convenient access. 

Community Trust merged with Self-Help in 2016, in order to extend additional products and services to Community Trust members, such as mortgages and online and mobile banking. It was formed in 1982 to serve Florida’s farmworker community by a coalition of local organizations and activists, including the Apopka nuns (members of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur), the West Orange Farmworker Health Association (Community Health Centers), Homes in Partnership, the Farmworker Ministry, the Justice and Peace Office, and the Farmworker Association of Florida.

 “Self-Help is an ideal merger partner for Community Trust,” said Kendrick. “They are strong and successful with a host of financial services for all people, with special care for people of color and working families. As part of Self-Help, we can not only provide good financial services but be part of a movement to protect vulnerable people from predatory lending and build economic power in low-income communities.”   

Apopka is Self-Help’s first physical presence in Florida. Jax Metro Credit Union, founded in 1935 to serve utility and port workers of the City of Jacksonville, merged with Self-Help on June 1, 2017. Between the two mergers, Self-Help’s credit unions now serve over 6,000 members in Florida. Self-Help also has helped originate over $300 million in loans to Floridians, partnering with Florida banks to finance over 2,900 home loans and providing financing to high-performing public schools in Miami and Gainesville educating nearly 20,000 low-income children.

The Self-Help family of non-profit organizations includes Self-Help Credit Union, serving 64,000 members with branches in North Carolina and Florida; Self-Help Federal Credit Union, serving over 70,000 members with branches in California, Chicago, Florida, and Milwaukee; Self-Help Ventures Fund, a national non-profit loan fund; and the Center for Responsible Lending, a policy and advocacy organization addressing abusive lending practices. Since its 1980 founding, Self-Help has provided over $7 billion in financing to 131,000 families, individuals and businesses underserved by traditional financial institutions. 

About Self-Help 

Self-Help is a community development financial institution headquartered in Durham, NC. Founded in 1980, Self-Help has provided over $7 billion in financing to 131,000 families, individuals and businesses underserved by traditional financial institutions. It helps drive economic development and strengthen communities by financing hundreds of homebuyers each year, as well as nonprofits, child care centers, community health facilities, public charter schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects. Self-Help’s two credit unions serve over 130,000 people in North Carolina, California, Chicago, Florida and Wisconsin and offer a full range of financial products and services. Learn more at www.self-help.org and www.self-helpfcu.org.

3 COMMENTS

  1. There are those gold painted shovels, like at the City of Apopka, that were used for the groundbreaking ceremonies, that later were handed down to the city’s construction crew employees to use for real, instead of “fake” digging….lol

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