CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union Offers Financial Freedom

In 2007, Christy Blanton’s husband suffered a traumatic brain stem injury that completely restricted his ability to ever work again. In order to support her husband, daughter and herself, Christy began relying on a payday lender to help cover the family’s ever-growing expenses. Unfortunately, this decision caused the Blanton’s to become trapped in a cycle of predatory lending with interest rates nearing 700 percent. It wasn’t until Christy took a leap of faith and reached out to the newly established Community Works Federal Credit Union that she saw hope for a brighter future. Now, when she makes her loan payments, the funds are applied toward principal instead of astronomical interest rates.

CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union specializes in serving low- and moderate-income families and individuals who are financially underserved. This new community organization assists people in meeting their financial goals regardless of their history by providing safe options designed to help members build assets, improve credit and enhance their financial knowledge.

Since its soft launch in July, CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union has opened 225 memberships and closed 52 loans, totaling $187,950. Membership is not limited to those who are financially underserved. With a potential membership of nearly 475,000, the organization is open to anyone who lives, works, worships, volunteers, or attends school in Greenville County, as well as businesses and other legal entities.

CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union officially opened its doors with a ribbon cutting at its main office at 115 W. Antrim Drive in September. CommunityWorks, a local nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, sponsored CWCFU with the support of the United Way of Greenville County, Hollingsworth Funds, TD Bank and CertusBank. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) chartered the organization.

When she had nowhere else to turn, Christy’s boss at Comfort Max Ray Lattimore encouraged her to reach out to CWFCU and take advantage of this new affordable financial resource. Christy started working with CommunityWorks in March 2014 and was refinanced to have more money for their bills. Her family also received a loan from the credit union along with financial wellness and credit coaching. “It had gotten to the point where our payday loans were eating my whole paycheck and I didn’t have any money for my family,” Christy explains. “CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union helped me tremendously!”

Over the course of their new CWFCU loan, Christy’s family will save close to $16,000 and eventually become debt-free.

“Everyone at CWFCU has been very considerate and helpful, giving me a sense of hope during this tough time,” Christy said. “I never met the gentleman on the phone from CWFCU, but he was so sincere in listening to my story and sharing how he could help.”

Many local businesses are providing their employees with CommunityWorks Financial Wellness Check Ups and Credit Builder Loans. Good credit and stable financial situations create employees who are more focused and diligent at work. “The CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union taught me how to save and budget my money, and together we set up a savings account in my name for emergencies,” Christy said. “I am so grateful for all of their guidance along the way.”

CWFCU welcomes all individuals and corporations to become members and invest in a savings account or Certificate of Deposit. CWFCU offers competitive rates and your investment is federally insured. Members will both make a return on their investment and enable the credit union to continue helping families become more financially stable. Only two forms of identification and a $15 deposit are needed to start the process.

For more information about CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union, please visit www.communityworksfcu.org or call 864-438-2421.

Debbie Nelson

Debbie Nelson is the president and founder of DNA Creative Communications, a woman-owned public relations and inspirational marketing firm for nonprofit organizations. Under Debbie’s leadership, in 2010 DNA founded Shine the Light Nonprofit Forums, an annual training program for Greenville nonprofits in partnership with the Community Foundation of Greenville County, the United Way of Greenville County and the Hollingsworth Funds. To support other nonprofits across the state, she also manages education programs for the South Carolina Association of Nonprofit Organization. As an a advocate for the nonprofit community, each month Debbie shares nonprofit stories in her Shine the Light columns in the Greenville Business Magazine and the Columbia Business Monthly. In addition she teaches nonprofit marketing at Clemson University to inspire and develop future nonprofit leaders. Debbie is a graduate of Leadership Greenville, Leadership South Carolina and the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leadership Initiative. She currently serves on the boards of the Greenville Area Development Corporation, the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, the United Way of Greenville County and the United Way Association of South Carolina.

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