MILWAUKEE (10/6/09)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions said it is pleased to have received an award from the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The federation received $750,000 from the fund. The awards were announced Friday in Milwaukee. The funds support CDFIs’ lending activities in underserved areas. They also help organizations, including credit unions, to provide affordable financial products and services to low-income communities and populations. “We have seen significant positive changes in the fund’s awards over the past year, thanks to the efforts of the CDFI Fund’s committed staff, but we remain concerned about the under representation of credit unions among awardees,” said federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. “Credit unions are central to the CDFI industry because in addition to affordable financing, they provide low- and moderate-income communities with a full range transaction and insured deposit services, asset building programs, financial literacy education, and other lifeline products that are so desperately needed in the current economy,” Rosenthal added. Of the 62 CDFIs receiving awards, two awards totaling $850,000 went to two community development credit unions (CDCUs), less than 2% of the total financial assistance awards this round, the federation said. The two CDCUs were Neighborhood Trust FCU, New York City, which received $350,000, and Union Settlement FCU, New York City, which received $500,000. One million dollars also was given to Self-Help Venture Fund, Durham, N.C., an affiliate of Self-Help CU in Durham. With the federation's award, the combined four awards account for less than 4% of the $52.7 million that was distributed, the federation said. National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Debbie Matz applauded credit union participation in the CDFI’s supplemental funding round, and encouraged broader credit union involvement in the currently open 2010 CDFI financial assistance program. Credit unions receiving funds under the Recovery Act and 2009 Round as noted by NCUA include:
* Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, N.Y., $2 million; * ASI FCU, Harahan, La., $2 million; * Brooklyn Cooperative FCU, Brooklyn N.Y., $1.1 million; * Communicating Arts CU, Detroit, $2 million; * First Legacy Community CU, Charlotte, N.C., $2 million; * Latino Community CU, Durham, N.C., $2 million; * Mendo Lake CU, Ukiah, Calif., $2 million; * Opportunities CU, Burlington, Vt., $2 million; and * Santa Cruz (Calif.) Community CU, $2 million.
The CDFI Fund also awarded $4.4 million to 10 CDFIs through its Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) program, which is designed to encourage the creation and strengthening of certified CDFIs that primarily serve Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian communities, the federation said. Of the 10 NACA awards, two went to credit unions--$470,000 to Federation-member Molokai Community FCU (Kaunakakai, Hawaii) and $225,000 to First Hawaiian Homes FCU (Hoolehua, Hawaii). While the percent of total NACA awards to community development credit unions (CDCUs) was 6.45%, CDCUs represent nearly 20% percent of the CDFI industry. The federation is committed to closing this gap. “We will continue to advocate vigorously for CDCUs to receive grants commensurate with their leading role in community development finance,” Rosenthal said. “We look forward to working closely with the fund to determine the barriers to increased credit union funding, especially at a time when financial services are so desperately needed in low-income communities, and when CDCUs have been hard hit by credit union system problems not of their making.”