ASHVILLE, N.C. (8/15/13)--Carolina Mountains CU, a division of Durham, N.C.-based Self-Help CU offers a certificate of deposit (CD) that allows savers to make a difference locally.
The community development credit union offers a Go Local CD to members of its Carolina Mountains CU division in Asheville, N.C. Funds that members invest in the CD are used to fund home mortgages as well as small-business auto and signature loans. The Go Local CD will also also helps the credit union support local economic-development projects. Mortgages funded by the CD will never be sold to the secondary market, the credit union said.
CD terms range from three months to five years.
"It brings our economic development mission, as a community development credit union and a community development financial institution, to the fore," said Jane Hatley, Western North Carolina regional director for Self-Help CU.
The program was created through a partnership with the Asheville Grown Business Alliance, a grassroots organization whose mission is to support independently owned businesses in the community. The group says that local independent business cycles three times more money back into the local economy and gives greater support to a community's non-profit and civic needs.
"The Go Local movement is very strong in Asheville, and Asheville Grown has a very strong presence here," Hatley said. About 400 businesses display Go Local posters and distribute Go Local cards that provide residents discounts on products and services. The CD provides residents with another opportunity to ensure their money stays within the local economy, Hatley said.
The idea for the Go Local CD was inspired by Michael Shurman, activist and author of the book "Local Dollars, Local Sense," who suggested the idea while speaking at a conference about supporting local businesses. Asheville Grown Director Franzi Charen suggested the credit union use the Asheville Grown logo in marketing the CD and slogan, "Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is: Love Western North Carolina: Invest Local" in marketing the CD.
Since the launch of the program in April, the credit union has raised $800,000 through the CD. Among the businesses recent loans have funded are a small hand-made lotion company, a trucking company, an auto maintenance shop and a custom tile business.
Although the credit union held a kickoff luncheon with local businesses when it launched the CD, most of the marketing has been through word of mouth. "These loans are making more local business possible, and that's exciting for people," Hatley said.
This article is part of a News Now series of exclusive, special reports on credit unions' outreach efforts and innovative ideas. Fostering service excellence and raising awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities are two prongs in credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial provider.