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CDFI director touts CU involvement
WASHINGTON (6/18/08)—The director of the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund recently noted in a speech that credit unions are one of the largest industry component for CDFI participation, second only to loan funds. Donna Gambrell, addressing the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ 34th Annual Conference for Serving the Underserved, called credit unions “an important part of the CDFI community.” She noted they make up approximately 18% of the more than 800 certified CDFIs. Gambrell reported that in 2007 her organization certified 16 credit unions as new CDFIs, more than double the number certified in 2006. Those 16 represented 38% of all CDFI certifications that year, second only to loan funds at 47%, she said. Three additional credit unions were certified during the first quarter of this year. The CDFI director reminded credit unions that organizations working toward CDFI certification are permitted to apply for technical assistance grants from the CDFI Fund that can help an organization on its path to certification. She said, “To those of you who are not certified CDFIs, we would like you to have the capacity to do more of what you do, and I encourage you to examine if CDFI certification and our funding programs could be beneficial to you.” Gambrell went on to note that credit unions “have been at the forefront of providing many innovative financial products and are proven, low-cost alternatives to payday and predatory lenders.” “Innovative products offered by credit unions include such things as credit building loans, small loans with an automatic savings feature, and first chance accounts, in addition to many others,” she noted, adding, “Many CDCUs developed best practices and I want to encourage all of you to please share these among each other and with the CDFI Fund.”
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