It has taken some years but finally Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter. That's because it's met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what's remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported formation of this novel credit union.
So, too, do the states two U.S. Senators and two House members.
Maybe 30 credit unions have been chartered by NCUA in the past decade. So this is a big deal.
We first covered the Maine Harvest story in 2015.
We picked it up again in 2017.
And in 2019 we may be covering the official opening.
What's special about Maine Harvest is that it intends to follow a specific, narrow business plan where it makes loans to small farmers - for land purchase, equipment purchase, and similar.
No checking. In fact no cash in the till.
No other institutions crave that loan business. But small farming is seen as very important to Maine's future.
Also essential to the business plan is that essentially all the back office will be provided by Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine League.
That lets the start up focus on finding borrowers and making sound loans.
Why do many credit unions fail? They don't serve a clear need.
This one knows its need and has a plan for filling it.
Other states would do well to look into similar efforts.
Hear the podcast with Budde about the history, present and future of Maine Harvest here.