A new Community Development Credit Union CDFI Awareness and Certification Campaign for credit unions has been launched by CUNA Mutual Group, in collaboration with Inclusiv. The program aims to educate credit unions not currently CDFI certified about the benefits of certification in serving members and local small businesses, and to create a network for existing CDFI (Community Development Financial Institutions) credit unions to learn about and access additional resources.
Amid the economic downturn in the wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, CDFIs have acted as lifelines and provided much-needed relief to communities hardest hit by this crisis, providing payment relief, Paycheck Protection Program loans and emergency small dollar loans, among other measures. With Congress poised to deliver billions of dollars in additional resources to CDFIs, there has never been a better time for credit unions serving underserved and minority communities to participate in the CDFI Fund.
CUNA Mutual Group and Inclusiv have come together to facilitate credit unions’ access to the possible $12 billion for CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions (MDI) contained in the COVID-19 stimulus package that Congress is presently debating. Inclusiv will provide expertise, technical assistance, advocacy and resources to CDFI-certified, CDFI-eligible and MDI-designated credit unions seeking to participate in these programs.
The U.S. Department of Treasury established the CDFI Fund in 1994 to provide resources to financial institutions delivering vital services to communities throughout the nation which have been overlooked by mainstream lenders and depositories.
There are currently more than 300 CDFI credit unions serving as “financial first responders” in their communities, said Inclusiv CEO Cathie Mahon. They are diverse, ranging in asset size from under $2 million to more than $10 billion. Collectively, CDFI credit unions manage more than $14 billion in community-controlled assets and serve more than 12 million consumers nationwide. The CDFI Fund recently awarded $45.8 million in grants to 111 credit unions, growing their outreach to communities that have been historically underserved by the financial mainstream.
As part of the awareness and certification campaign, Inclusiv will conduct an analysis of credit unions in target areas and provide technical assistance to credit unions interested in pursuing CDFI certification as well as to previously CDFI-certified credit unions whose certifications have lapsed. Inclusiv will be providing CDFI eligibility and certification services, along with training and technical assistance for CDFIs participating in the various CDFI Fund programs. Inclusiv is also hosting weekly learning sessions for credit unions that would like to learn more. Register here for more information.
For existing CDFI credit unions, Inclusiv will explore ways to help credit unions capitalize on their CDFI designation. Inclusiv will also engage CDFI credit unions in advocacy efforts for streamlined CDFI certification guidelines and additional funding to benefit credit unions.