SAN FRANCISCO (10/20/08)--Mission SF FCU and its nonprofit affiliate, Mission SF Community Financial Center, held a grand opening celebration Oct. 10 of their new retail location in San Francisco. More than 100 people attended the event, which featured presentations by supporters and partners, including Mission SF members who shared stories of how their lives were transformed through their credit union membership. The grand opening was co-sponsored by the Bank on San Francisco program and the Office of San Francisco City Treasurer José Cisneros. Along with Cisneros, local officials spoke at the event, including State Rep. Mark Leno, City and County Supervisor Tom Ammiano, and representatives from the mayor’s office and the Department of Children, Youth and their Families. Part of the grand opening celebration included Mission SF FCU’s public recognition of Patelco CU, and its Senior Vice President, Anita Macias, whose support made the new office opening possible. In honor of their support of the community development credit union (CDCU), and the new retail location in particular, Mission SF announced that it would be naming their conference room the Anita Macias, Patelco CU conference room. Cliff Rosenthal, President/CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation), and Federation Board Chairman Eunice J. Rogers, CEO of NRS Community Development FCU (Birmingham, Ala.) also presented Macias with a crystal award for her long-time support of CDCUs. “In addition to her local work, Anita has been a valuable volunteer for the Federation, advising our Community Development Investment Program, which has placed millions of dollars in CDCUs across the country. She is one of the true champions of the cooperative movement, and we’re fortunate to have worked so closely with her over the years,” he added. With more than half of Mission residents being unbanked (without a formal relationship with a mainstream financial institution) and nearly half of its residents having no credit histories, there is a critical and urgent need for financial education, credit building and repair programs, and small short term affordable loans, particularly in these turbulent economic times, said Mission SF. “Never before has it been more critical to ensure that people have opportunities to learn how to manage and save their money and get a shot at the American Dream,” said San Francisco Treasurer José Cisneros. “Mission SF offers a set of financial products and services for low-income and immigrant San Franciscans that create real pathways to financial security and economic self-sufficiency.” The increased visibility and outreach capacity has produced dramatic results in a very short time, Mission SF said. Since the doors opened in February 2008, Mission SF tripled the number of loans it makes each month, with loans starting as low as $300. They doubled the number of new members joining monthly, with 30% of those new members opening their first account ever; dramatically expanded a financial education program that has engaged over 14 community-based organizations, 200 adults and more than 125 youth; and most recently, launched a new microlending program for immigrant entrepreneurs with support from the Mayor’s Office of Community Investment. Mission SF FCU’s and Mission SF Community Financial Center’s activities also are largely supported from Patelco funds, and through the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth and their Families, the Levi Strauss Foundation, Ruddie Memorial Youth Foundation, the National Credit Union Foundation, Walter S. Johnson Foundation, the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, the Mayor’s Office of Community Investment and Youth Funding Youth Ideas. Mission SF FCU is an $8 million-in-assets community development credit union serving more than 2,000 members.