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  • CU Strategic Planning

Buckeye State Credit Union: Becoming a Real Player in Serving the Underserved

When Buckeye State Credit Union became certified as a Community Development Financial Institution, the team wasn’t confused on what to do next. They got straight to work.


The Akron-headquartered credit union serves an area of northeastern Ohio that’s squarely in the Rust Belt, which includes 90 Opportunity Zones. Nearly 80% of Buckeye’s activities are directed to low-income members, according to analysis of their lending. The $136.5 million Buckeye has partnered with CU Strategic Planning beginning with its 2017 CDFI certification, and has earned nearly $7.5 million in grant funding since then.


Abernathy added that while the average credit score among Buckeye’s borrowers is 660, the credit union is still able to safely make loans to these members that other financial institutions have abandoned. “We take risks on people every other financial institution has left behind,” Abernathy asserted. “They’re not living paycheck-to-paycheck; they’re living day-to-day.”

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