WASHINGTON (7/29/13)--The Senate Appropriations Committee late last week approved its appropriations package for fiscal year 2014, which includes $230 million for the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.
That funding level would represent a $20 million increase above the 2013 post-sequester level of $210 million. The CDFI Fund helps locally based financial institutions--including credit unions--offer small business, consumer and home loans in communities and populations that lack access to affordable credit.
A total of $1.2 million in funds would be allocated to the National Credit Union Administration's Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF) under the committee budget. The Obama administration has requested $1.127 million in CDRLF funding in its own 2014 budget. A total of $1.144 million in CDRLF funding was approved in the 2013 budget. The CDRLF provides loans and technical assistance to federal and state credit unions that are designated as low-income credit unions, as defined by NCUA regulations.
Last August, the NCUA awarded $1.4 million in technical assistance grants to just over 100 small credit unions through the CDRLF.
The Senate committee spending bill would also allocate $10 million in funds to the Cooperative Development Program (CDP), and $265 million to various microenterprise and microfinance initiatives. The CDP aids the work of credit unions and other cooperatives in developing countries by funding sustainable development assistance carried out by eight U.S.-based cooperative development organizations.
Student debt and lending issues were also noted in the committee appropriations package.
The committee directed the U.S. Treasury to work with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the NCUA and the Federal Reserve "to offer clear guidance consistent with safety and soundness principles recognizing the unique characteristics of private student loans compared to other debt and providing flexibility to lenders working with borrowers to avoid default."
There is over $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, of which $150 billion is in private student loans. More than 850,000 students have defaulted on their private student loans worth more than $8.1 billion, the committee noted.