Manatee Community Federal Credit Union Strives for Community Development

Cindy Barco jokes that she was “born” in the banking industry. The CEO of Manatee Community Federal Credit Union (MCFCU) started as a teller when she was 16 and never left. Now as MCFCU changes their strategic direction to focus on community development she’s turned to UEP on the Suncoast for guidance.

“We figured an outsider’s perspective could give us insight,” she explained. “What a great opportunity to talk to someone who has that experience and can help you see where you’re going. When you’ve been focused on something for so long you don’t always see what an outsider sees.”

MCFCU was recently given CDFI Certification which means the organization can now apply for grants that focus on moderate to low income individuals. Sherod Halliburton, Executive VP Strategic Initiatives at MCFCU, said that as part of the credit union’s commitment to serving underserved populations it now offers a variety of products designed for people with no credit or challenged credit. These include second chance checking accounts for people who may have overdrawn their account, fresh start loans and a partnership with Enterprise car sales for people who need transportation but have challenged credit.

As part of UEP on the Suncoast coaching Cindy and Sherod have been completing a SWOT Analysis of the credit union which looks at the Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the organization. “Talking about it puts the emphasis on thinking about our strategic direction and the urgency of implementing some aspects of them,” Cindy said.

According to Sherod, the meetings with the UEP coaches have forced them to revisit their strategic plan in order to better serve their membership while identifying growth opportunities. “We’re learning things that will help us serve our members better and help us redefine our place in the marketplace.” Although they are eager to implement new strategies he also said that redefining the goals and strategies for MCFCU will be an on-going process.  “We’re taking pointers as we go along,” Sherod said. “As the regions only CDFI we envision the strategic plan that will be implemented will have tremendous impact on this community for years to come.”

It may seem like a tough time to be in banking but Cindy and Sherod keep a positive outlook on the future of MCFCU. “For a lot of financial institutions it’s been the end of the road so we look at ours like a bend with good things to follow,” Cindy said. Given the amount of exciting new developments and plans for growth, they have a good reason to look on the bright side.

For more information on the Manatee Community Federal Credit Union visit www.manateecfcu.org

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