NEW YORK (7/13/10)--The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ CU Breakthrough consulting service announced that in less than six weeks, between March 15 and April 30, it assisted nearly 40 credit unions with certification applications to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The record demand for certification came from credit unions looking to tap into Treasury’s new Community Development Capital Initiative (CDCI), which makes low-interest, long-term secondary capital available to CDFI-certified community development credit unions (CDCUs). The federation met the increased demand by developing a methodology based on random sampling, which allowed it to determine target market eligibility much more accurately and efficiently than ever before. Only seven months into the current year, this is already the largest number of credit union CDFI certification applications ever submitted to the CDFI Fund in any given year, the federation said. If all credit union applications are approved, the total number of CDFI-certified credit unions will increase by 25%, the federation added. The most recent announcement from the CDFI Fund listed seven new CDFI-certified CDCUs:
* Cooperative Center FCU, Berkeley, Calif.; * CoVantage CU, Antigo, Wis.; * Foss Avenue Baptist Church FCU, Flint, Mich.; * Liberty County Teachers FCU, Liberty, Texas; * Northland Area FCU, Oscada, Mich.; * Potlatch No. 1 FCU, Lewiston, Idaho; and * SunTide FCU, Corpus Christi, Texas.
Six credit unions also were certified in May:
* Birmingham (Ala.) Financial FCU; * Credit Union of Atlanta; * Fidelis FCU, New York; * Old West FCU, Portland, Ore.; * Pacific Crest FCU, Klamath Falls, Ore.; and * UNO FCU, New Orleans.
The new certifications bring the total number of CDFI-certified credit unions to an all-time high of 186, and all but two of the 11 newly certified CDCUs are members of the federation, and took advantage of its CU Breakthrough consulting service to apply for certification. “We now have a system that allows us to prepare CDFI certification applications much more rapidly, and with a nearly 100% success rate,” said Pablo DeFilippi, director of membership services at the federation. “With this new technique, we were able to assist a large number of credit unions that otherwise would not have been able to meet Treasury's April 30 deadline to qualify for the CDCI program.” Last week, the CDFI Fund announced that CDFIs whose certification had expired and had been automatically extended, would be required to submit recertification applications by July 30 for CDFIs that applied to the CDCI program, and by Aug. 30 for all others. To help CDCUs with the recertification process, the federation is offering fee-based technical assistance to all credit unions through its CU Breakthrough consulting service, and limited free telephone consultations to member CDCUs. The federation also helped many credit unions apply for low-income designation, another prerequisite for participation in the CDCI program. “Many credit unions don't realize they qualify for low-income designation,” said DeFilippi. “But having the designation gives them the power to accept secondary capital and it also lifts the 12.25% member business lending cap. The designation provides credit unions serving some of our nation's poorest communities with the tools to grow more rapidly, while providing affordable financing to communities in serious need of investment.” “The federation is committed to helping credit unions of all sizes realize their potential in serving the underserved,” DeFilippi added. “The CDFI Fund is the single largest source of capital for CDFIs in the U.S., having awarded more than $80 million to CDCUs since 1995. We are proud to report that 98% of those awards went to federation-member CDCUs.” “With a projected budget of $250 million for 2011, plus the new Community Development Capital Initiative, which could provide another $200 million in secondary capital investments to CDFI-certified credit unions, there has never been a better time for credit unions to take advantage of this opportunity,” he continued. “It doesn't matter whether you’ve never thought of yourself as a CDCU,” DeFilippi added. “If your field of membership encompasses significant pockets of low- and moderate-income people, then you too can do more to serve them ... and the federation’s CU Breakthrough is here to show you how.” For more information, use the link.