Maine Harvest Credit Project has completed two pieces of primary research that inform and support the proposed credit union concept. More information on both of these studies is available upon request.
Potential Member Survey (2012)
The potential member survey was fielded at MOFGA’s Common Ground Fair in 2012. This two-page survey was based on a template from the National Credit Union Administration and is an important part of the credit union chartering process. The goal of the survey was to gauge the level of interest in the proposed credit union and to get an idea of potential deposits from prospective members. 258 responses were received and consistently indicated a high level of interest in joining the CU and with substantial potential deposits.
Member Financial Interviews (2013-2014)
The member financial interviews were in-depth, 2 to 3 hour in-person interviews conducted with farm and food business members of MOFGA, Maine Farmland Trust, the Maine Cheese Guild, the Maine Grain Alliance and the Maine Craft Brewers Guild. The goal of these interviews was understand the histories, goals, business models and challenges of Maine’s small farms and food businesses. Special emphasis was placed on understanding these businesses’ financing relationships and the nature of any financing needs that were not being adequately met by current sources. 36 interviews were conducted and indicated that growth in the sector was strong and that lack of adequate financing was a significant challenge, particularly around obtaining financing for land.