BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – In the latest illustration of how hard it is to start a new credit union, Inspire Community Development FCU has agreed to merge into giant First Community FCU, just two years after the opening of the CDCU.

The CDCU start-up, one of just a dozen credit unions chartered over the past three years, has accumulated just $400,000 in assets and 500 members since its opening in June 2010.

Credit union officials attributed start-up delays, dwindling funds, under-staffing and a desire to expand services to the decision to merge into the $700 million First Community FCU.

The credit union hit a high-water mark of $690,000 in assets in Dec. 2010, soon after opening, and reported a $310,000 net for the first six months of operation. But it reported a $144,000 loss for 2011 and a $111,000 loss for the first six months of 2012, as its asset base slid back to $421,000.

First Community, on the other hand, was among the 553 credit unions designated by NCUA as low-income, making it eligible for NCUA’s low-rate loans and technical assistance grants for programs that cater to low-income people.

The CDCU start-up offered low-interest micro loans, savings accounts and automatic deposits for low-income people, programs for which Inspire could receive federal dollars to run under its CDCU designation. Inspire was open three days a week with limited hours – a limitation based on under-staffing.

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