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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

FINANCIAL PARTNERSHIP ON TRACK IN EAST PALO ALTO

The East Palo Alto Credit Union, a byproduct of an innovative partnership among Silicon Valley and Bay Area credit unions, has just announced the appointment of two key financial leaders. Two executives from local credit unions will provide the expertise to complete this project, which is designed to inspire investment in the community.

Stu Fisher, the new interim CEO, will finalize charter requirements and help locate a permanent CEO for the East Palo Alto operation.

“This project represents everything that is good about the credit union movement ~ by the community, for the community and people helping people toward greater economic empowerment. The East Palo Alto Credit Union will change lives significantly. It’s an honor to be part of such a legacy.”

Fisher is known for his work as vice president at Addison Avenue Credit Union, which started as a credit union serving Hewlett Packard and has since branched into the technology arena. It has 25 branches nationwide and $1.8 billion in assets.

Keith Troup, vice president of operations at Stanford Federal Credit Union, will set up operations, lending policies and procedures for the new project.

“East Palo Alto will now have the resources needed to make its citizens financially independent rather than having to suffer predatory lending institutions,” he said.

John Liotti, CEO of the Northern California Urban Development Corporation, said, “We're blessed and humbled to have Stu Fisher serve with us in completing this great task of empowering our community. And without the help of the Stanford Federal Credit Union, we would never have gotten to where we currently are in this project.”

The East Palo Alto Credit Union is scheduled to open in early 2007. It will serve local residents in English and Spanish, many of whom lack access to a bank. Some 65% of the residents in East Palo Alto are Latino. The new not-for-profit financial institution will be owned and operated by the residents. All profits will remain in the community.

In August, preliminary approval for the credit union charter was granted by the National Credit Union Administration. Credit unions throughout the region -- including Patelco in San Francisco and Community Trust in Modesto -- are working to coordinate efforts and build a $10 million asset base for the project. The project is modeled after successes in Modesto, Calif., Mississippi and North Carolina.

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