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Credit union celebrates new branch

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Adrian Dixon, Self-Help Credit Union branch manager of Wilson, left, Torey Thompson Self-Help Credit Union city executive of Rocky Mount, center, and Frank Del Villar talk Wednesday at the Self-Help Credit Union on Tarboro Street.

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BY COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Thursday, March 1, 2018

A Durham-based financial institution held a ribbon cutting at its branch in downtown Rocky Mount.

People from around the Twin Counties, including David Farris, president and CEO of the Rocky Mount Area Chamber of Commerce, Susan Freeman, executive director of the Tarboro-Edgecombe Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor David Combs, celebrated the grand opening of Self-Help Credit Union at 101 Tarboro St. in downtown Rocky Mount. 

Self-Help Credit Union, which was established in 1980 in Durham, is recognized as one of the largest community development financial institutions in the United States and a leader in profitably lending to underserved borrowers and communities. Rocky Mount native Torey Thompson, city executive for Self-Help Credit Union, said the credit union held a “soft opening” when it officially opened on Jan. 3. 

Randy Armstrong, president of Self-Help Credit Union, said the financial institution received a proposal about coming to Rocky Mount a couple years ago. Armstong added Rocky Mount, Nash and Edgecombe counties are an important community for the people Self-Help usually serves who are working class people looking to buy a home, start a small business, grow their church or grow their child care service.

“One of the things we love about Rocky Mount is the diversity because you have a strong African-American community, a growing Latino community and progressive white community, who can work together and try to solve the issues facing this community. We like to be in a place where folks are working together to solve the problems in their community.”

He added Rocky Mount is also a hub for so many people in Northeastern North Carolina. 

“Rocky Mount is not just a town around here, but really a center for Northeastern North Carolina,” Armstong said. “For us, this isn’t just a branch in Rocky Mount or for Rocky Mount, but if we’re going to attack the issues that face Northeastern North Carolina like affordable housing, helping child care grow, helping charter schools serve kids of color and improve, then Rocky Mount is a place in which we can do that.”

Armstong described Self-Help Credit Union as a “throwback” financial institution. He said Self-Help’s mission is to help people save money and help them build wealth through homeownership, affordable loan programs and small businesses and nonprofit organizations. The services available at the Rocky Mount branch consist of account opening, auto and personal loans, small business loans, cash transaction via ATM only, and home mortgage loans.

“Our bread and butter is helping people buy homes, and we do 30-year fixed rate mortgages with minimum down payments,” Armstrong said. “Helping working class people that make $35,000, $40,000 or $50,000 buy a home, that is for us the most important thing we can do for those families.”

Being in the Twin Counties is nothing new for Self-Help Credit Union. The financial institution in the early 2000s renovated a building next to its current location in downtown Rocky Mount that was the former main office of People’s Bank. Farris said when Self-Help Credit Union took over the building the property had been vacatant for almost 20 years.

Self-Help Credit also own the property of the old Rocky Mount Post Office building around the corner in downtown Rocky Mount. Armstong said the company is trying to figure out what to do with it.

“To have you down here once again helping lead the downtown revitalization, I think is really special,” Farris said.

Self-Help Credit Union is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

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