State Employees' Credit Union

Durham, Black Banking, Cicely Mitchell, Art of Cool
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

From Atlanta to Chicago, black-owned banks in big cities across the country have reported a rise in new accounts during the past month. One of the oldest black-owned banks in the country is based in Durham, where bank officials report a rise in new accounts and in a new movement to keep the momentum going.

Joanne Abel
Leoneda Inge

Durham-based Self Help Credit Union is celebrating 30 years of community and financial service.

Self Help Credit Union officially opened for business in 1984 and has earned a reputation for serving the underserved.

Joanne Abel and her partner were the first to secure a home loan.  Abel remembers her home on Driver Street in East Durham, like it was yesterday.

Charles Sanders and Shawn Wilson
Leoneda Inge

There is a credit union in eastern North Carolina that has worked hard to help people who have historically been left out of traditional banking circles.

But during the economic downturn, the Greater Kinston Credit Union suffered just like many of its members.  Major loans weren’t re-paid and the state placed it under conservatorship.  Today, Greater Kinston has a new manager, is open for business and is making money again.

SECU Building
State Employees' Credit Union

North Carolina’s State Employees’ Credit Union reached a major milestone in recent years.  There is now at least one branch in each of the state’s 100 counties.

The 75-year-old credit union was chartered with only 17 members.  Today, its membership base is close to 1.8 million and growing.  And a lot of this growth has come in the past five years, since the financial crisis and since retail banks have struggled to win back consumer confidence.