For SCCCU Members, Affordable Financial Services Are Not Just A Dream, It’s A Reality

Sarah Eblen has worked hard her entire life, starting her first job in high school. She has always believed in the importance of saving money and working for the things you get – nothing is free. His proactive approach to money management has allowed him to maintain good credit and positively save for his future.

Unfortunately, after arriving in Santa Cruz in 1985, she couldn’t afford to buy a house in such a high and expensive housing market, so she had to rent her house instead. But in April 2020, she decided it was time to own her first home.

Although Sarah is a good freelance sales rep, she was not a “perfect borrower” on paper. However, she had a good down payment, excellent credit, and a long employment history. “Other financial institutions turned me down because I couldn’t provide a company pay stub, which I just couldn’t provide since I’m self-employed,” Sarah explained.

New year, new home and financial dream come true

Sarah Eblen, Client of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union

(Santa Cruz Community Credit Union)

At the start of 2021, things changed for Sarah. After a brief discussion with one of the Santa Cruz Community Credit Union (SCCCU) board members, she reached out to Brenda Merrell, SCCCU loan consultant. As a result, Sarah was the proud owner of a new mobile home in Aptos within a few months.

“I felt like Brenda was part of my team from our first conversation. I felt supported and encouraged by her, ”Sarah exclaimed.

“These are the experiences that make our jobs so interesting. It is so rewarding to see someone make the dream of a lifetime come true. We’re filling a niche in this community, which is providing financial support to people who are denied other places, and we’re really good at it.

– Richard Cooper, Executive Vice President and Director of Loans at SCCCU

Providing affordable housing to members is essential to the mission of the SCCCU

Sarah is just one of hundreds of members the Credit Union has helped over the past year, especially with the impact of COVID-19. The mission of the SCCCU is to ensure economic justice for all, which means thinking outside the box and reaching those others may not be helping.

“We look at the whole person when we loan them, not just what they look like on paper,” Cooper said. “We have programs available to help people get back on track as well as loans for those with great credit. We really want to help.

Cooper further explained that the Credit Union has one of the only mobile home loan programs in the community and works closely with real estate agents to help people find the home they need at an affordable price.


Habitat for Humanity volunteer Elizabeth McGinnis.

(Santa Cruz Community Credit Union)

SCCCU recently committed over $ 1 million to a local Habitat for Humanity project, which will build homes in one of our neighborhoods in Santa Cruz. In addition, the project includes the creation of a community garden and a playground.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this project that is helping people achieve their dream of homeownership,” said Cooper. “It’s projects like this that help make our community even better.

Why providing affordable financial services is important to SCCCU

The credit union is unique in its ability to be nimble and deal with problems as they arise.

“We’re a small financial institution compared to others in our community, but it allows us to get to the heart of what matters most to our members. Like Sarah, there are many people in our riding who need help reaching their financial goals, and we are happy to do so.

– Katie Fairbairn, Vice President of Communications and Organizational Development at SCCCU

For years, the Credit Union has partnered with industry efforts to tackle predatory lending. And now, with its LIFT loan program, SCCCU is ready to tackle payday loans and help members close any financial gaps they may have at times.

“It’s a bit like the ITIN loan. We have been doing this for years and were the only financial institution offering this service in the county until last year, ”said Fairbairn. “We are delighted that some of the other financial institutions in our region are doing the same, as the overall goal is to help everyone access affordable financial services. “

“We know, especially during the holidays, that people need help. And not everyone who goes to a payday lender has bad credit. Some go because they think they don’t have any other options, or maybe they’ve been turned down in the past. And we’re here to say you have other options.

– Katie Fairbairn, Vice President of Communications and Organizational Development at SCCCU

The Watsonville branch team of the SCCCU

The Watsonville branch team of the SCCCU

(Santa Cruz Community Credit Union)

return the favor

The Caisse populaire will accept donations until November 30, 2021.

In addition to its annual RETURN THE FAVOR campaign (which grossed over $ 157,000 this year), SCCCU regularly helps local nonprofits secure grants to help implement programs to help the most vulnerable in our community. .

“We are delighted to announce that the three nonprofits we sponsored for FHLB grants were approved last week,” said Fairbairn. “It’s such a privilege to be able to help our local nonprofits get the funds they need to serve so many people who need help, especially during the holidays.

More services to help the unbanked and underserved in Santa Cruz County

With a mission to ensure economic justice for all, SCCCU is committed to reaching out to those who have been neglected for years.

“We believe that everyone should have access to affordable financial services,” said Beth Carr, President and CEO of SCCCU. “And we really put our money where our mouth is.”

The credit union offers a variety of products and services to help people get back on track or build credit, from second chance checks and savings-backed loans to DACA loans and credit unions. free financial advice.


(Santa Cruz Community Credit Union)

What does the future hold?

Imagine what it would be like if everyone, like Sarah, had access to the financial services they need to live comfortably?

“When we reduce the percentage of unbanked and underserved people in our community, we improve the financial well-being of every household and build a stronger economy for everyone to enjoy. We believe that economic justice for all is worth it. “

– Beth Carr, President / CEO of SCCCU

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