WASHINGTON (2/27/09)—The Obama administration has proposed expanding lending in disadvantaged communities by doubling appropriations for the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. A White House document noted that, through merit-based grant programs, the CDFI Fund helps locally based financial institutions offer small business, consumer and home loans in communities and populations that lack access to affordable credit. John Hildreth, senior legislative representative for the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), said that if the budget is passed by the U.S. Congress, it would mean that more than $200 million would be available for the CDFI Fund. CDFIs are financial intermediaries such as certain credit unions, banks, loan funds, venture capital funds, corporation-based lenders and microenterprise development loan funds. The House on Wednesday passed the Obama administration's omnibus spending bill.