Nonprofits And Lending Institutions: A Vital Partnership

Why do nonprofit organizations exist? For some, they meet community needs that governments, individuals, and businesses cannot. For others, nonprofits are forward-thinking social catalysts that spark new ideas and innovation. Carlos Serrano, a business services lender at Community First Credit Union in Jacksonville, FL, helps nonprofits…no matter why they exist. He does it because he cares.

Carlos Serrano works for Community First Credit Union in Jacksonville, FL and he’s been in the banking business for over 13 years. Serrano and Community First Credit Union have carved out a niche in commercial lending, working closely with nonprofit organizations that have diverse banking needs. For nonprofit leaders, finding a lending institution that’s willing to work with them is easy, but finding one that understands the intricacies of nonprofit work is rare.

Why Nonprofits Make Business Sense

com first cares foundationNonprofit organizations are designed to serve, not profit from, their clients. For most lending institutions, nonprofits are not the first organizations they tap for business opportunities because the general perception is that nonprofits do not earn as much money as for-profit businesses. However, Community First Credit Union is not like most lending institutions. For example, they know how nonprofits operate from the inside out. The Community First Cares Foundation is the only non-profit foundation administered by a credit union in the Northeast Florida region and one of only a few in Florida. Its mission is to help improve the quality of life in North Florida by supporting activities to improve financial literacy, quality of education, health and welfare and help the underserved.

With its own in-house non profit, Community First understands how nonprofits work and what they need when it comes to banking. Community First understands that nonprofits may not work for profit, but they still have cash flow and traditional business needs that must be met – and that means banking opportunities abound in the nonprofit sector.

Carlos Serrano is particularly keen to serve nonprofits because he worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years prior to becoming a banker. “I enjoy helping people meet needs,” said Serrano. “I’ve had the opportunity to work and serve alongside nonprofits that are helping those who need it most.”

Serrano’s service-minded outlook, coupled with Community First Credit Union’s forward-thinking business model, enable nonprofits to greatly benefit from the lending and banking services that Community First provides.

According to a 2015 report by the Urban Institue, the U.S. nonprofit sector grew by 19.5 percent between 2003 and 2013. Nonprofits hold nearly $3.22 trillion in assets. The point is this: Nonprofits are generating revenue. Just like any other business, to increase in revenue, nonprofits need growth opportunities through smart lending services. Carlos Serrano and the team at Community First Credit Union provide lending opportunities designed to help nonprofits in Northeast Florida grow.

It’s Better to Give

The way that Community First goes about earning business is different from most other lending institutions. Community First really does put the community first as a core business strategy. Community First serves the area through its foundation, exceptional lending opportunities, and customer-focused service. On top of all of that, Community First Credit Union can be seen around Jacksonville, FL as the primary sponsor of the Jacksonville-based Armada Football Club and various community events around Jacksonville.


Carlos Serrano is a Jacksonville, FL-based business services lender for Community First Credit Union, specializing in nonprofit lending. He has lived in Jacksonville, FL since 1997. He loves helping small business owners achieve their lifelong dreams through lasting relationships, personal connections, and events that go beyond the traditional banking experience. Carlos is passionate about the local business community and believes in meeting needs through finance-related education and service. When he’s not in the office, Carlos volunteers as a youth soccer coach. For more information about commercial or nonprofit lending, contact Carlos Serrano by phone at 904-755-2523 or by email at You can also visit

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