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Mc Coy Federal Credit Union has been serving the residents and workers of South Orange County since 1954.
From the beginning, Cesar believed in service to others and credit unions fit that ideal of farm workers serving and helping each other. During those early union organizing days, Cesar presented his vision for a credit union to farm workers in one house meeting after another.
It would be a far better way to improve the current situation they were in— dependent on growers or those in power for their help that only served to sink them deeper into financial misery and ruin or enduring times of extreme hardship because they were deemed a credit risk to financial institutions who rejected them when they applied for help to pay for vital necessities or unexpected expenses such as health care emergencies.
Cesar was aware that while some farm workers appeared to warm up to the idea of a credit union others had misgivings.
Cesar would tell workers that their money deposited in banks was being used by the growers to pay them the cheap wages they received.
TO APPLY: To be eligible for the Mc Coy Federal Credit Union Valencia Foundation Scholarship, students must be a member of Mc Coy Federal Credit Union for one year, or have an immediate family member who has been a member in good standing of the credit union for at least one year.
Students must complete an application for the scholarship, complete an essay on the topic designated on the application, carry a full-time load (minimum 12 credit hours), demonstrate a financial need, exhibit community service and have a high school or previous college grade point average of at least 2.5 (based on a 4.0 scale.) Applications for the Mc Coy Federal Credit Union Valencia Foundation Scholarship are available on the Valencia Community College website.Cesar’s idea, too, of a credit union of their own would enable farm workers to finally be in a position to help each other financially.A credit union for farm workers—a group of people with a common bond helping one another—was an entirely new concept to most workers.She told me Helen Chavez needed help in the credit union. I found the discrepancy one-fourth of the way into the shares ledger.Helen was well into the second month unable to post anything into the current month because she could not close-off the previous month books. The previous month’s ending balance had not been posted correctly into the current month beginning balance.Little by little the idea began to take shape that a credit union was a good thing to have. The reason some had resisted Cesar is because money is a very private matter not usually discussed with others.While some farm workers did use banks, it was also well-known that a larger segment kept their money in what they believed to be safe places at home (in tin cans, stashed in jars and buried in a dirt hole, inside a mattress or the secret pocket of a coat to list a few) and quickly accessible when needed. Cesar continued to use the credit union as an organizing tool to bring more and more workers to into the union., a striker’s daughter, and working again during high school summer break at the Pink House in Delano answering the phones for Cesar’s secretary.Needing a break, I went around to the backside of the house to visit with my childhood buddy, Idalia (Lali) Escamilla.Students selected as Mc Coy Federal Credit Union Scholars are expected to write to Mc Coy Federal Credit Union in care of the Valencia Foundation about their experiences at Valencia and the value of the scholarship.We believe strongly in giving back to the members we serve and improving the communities in which we live and work.