ELGA fuels growth for areas in need

The Michigan cooperative is going against the grain of other FIs by serving moderate to low-income members, opening new branches, and tapping CDFI funds to lend to people in need.

In the early months of COVID-19, ELGA Credit Union ($1.15B, Burton, MI) became one of the first local financial institutions to reopen its branch lobbies in and around Flint, MI. Soon, the credit union was adding 1,000 new accounts a month, and that growth trajectory has continued through today as new business has spread by word of mouth.

Assets for ELGA grew from $700 million as of March 31, 2019, to $1.1 billion as of June 30, 2021. Federal stimulus payments and unemployment checks have boosted assets at the cooperative, but ELGA knows lending is crucial to the recovery. As such, its $800 million loan portfolio comprises thousands of consumer loans, used car loans, mortgages, and business loans.

“We are focused not just on large-dollar business deals but on small-dollar loans for small businesses that are trying either to start up or to expand their business,” says Terry Katzur, executive vice president of ELGA Credit Union.

ELGA has been going against the grain of industry trends for years, focusing on serving moderate to low-income members of the community largely cut off from traditional financial services. Whereas other institutions have closed branches, ELGA has opened three new branches since 2019. In addition to a branch in downtown Flint, it placed branches in the nearby rural communities of Linden and Holly, both areas essentially abandoned by bank closures. And as others prioritize work-from-home options, ELGA is building a new 64,000-square-foot headquarters on the outskirts of Flint.


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