MERCO Credit Union earns CDFI Status to better serve one of state’s poorest counties

CU Strategic Planning gets nod for the assist

TACOMA, WA (November 9, 2020) — MERCO Credit Union of Merced, Calif., is the latest in a string of credit unions to earn the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institution certification with the help of CU Strategic Planning.

“We are very happy,” David Ness, CEO of the $143 million credit unions, said. “We’ve found that the CU Strategic Planning team have been very professional, organized and helpful. I don’t think we could have obtained the CDFI Certification on our own without substantially more effort and aggravation.”

CU Strategic Planning Director of Certification Services Carrie Ostrem commented, “We are so excited to help credit unions like MERCO. David and his team are doing the right things for the right people that credit unions were designed to serve. I’m so glad CU Strategic Planning could help!”

MERCO Credit Union’s target market is an investment area with 82% of its membership residing in low-income qualified census tracts.

“We’d like to apply for a CDFI grant in 2021,” Ness explained regarding MERCO’s CDFI certification, which makes the credit union eligible for grants from Treasury’s CDFI Fund. “We live and operate in one of the poorest counties in California. We have a large immigrant population working mainly in agricultural and service industries. A majority of our community are Hispanic and many of those speak English as a second language. We’d like to be able to expand outreach to the Hispanic and Hmong communities to provide them with access to affordable lending and deposit products.” He continued on to say that many in the community are either unbanked or underbanked.

Ostrem concluded, “That’s why CU Strategic Planning exists: To help credit union unlock the potential in their communities.”

About CU Strategic Planning

Since 2008, CU Strategic Planning has provided business planning services for credit unions, focusing on community development. The company is the No. 1 CDFI certification, grant-writing and compliance firm for credit unions in the country. Through grants, strategic and tactical planning, community summit facilitation and more, CU Strategic Planning achieves its mission to unlock opportunities for credit unions to change lives and their communities. CU Strategic Planning’s expert consulting includes securing and managing compliance for $945 million in US Treasury CDFI grants and related award funding.  


Sarah Snell Cooke



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