New CU not seeking to be PFI

Nearly every credit union in the country is striving to be members’ primary financial institution. But one startup CU here has no interest in being a PFI.

Instead, the brand new Maine Harvest Credit Union, which opened its doors with $2.4-million in assets, is seeking to serve the unique needs of the roughly 13,000 members of the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and the Maine Farmland Trust by offering business loans to small farms, farmers and other food producers within its field of membership.

The credit union is looking to fill a gap in the market by offering land-backed mortgages in the $100,000 to $400,000 range, small-business loans of $60,000 to $125,000 and equipment loans of $20,000 to $40,000.

“We’re really focused on these types of business loans,” said CEO Scott Budde. “So, no traditional consumer lending, which is the mainstay of many credit unions. We are not offering checking, we’re just offering savings and CDs. We’re not trying to be people’s primary financial institution. It’s a very unique and specialized business model.”


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