With just over 2 weeks remaining until government funding expires April 28, CUNA, credit unions and other organizations are encouraging stakeholders to reach out to policymakers to push for full funding of the Treasury’s Community Development Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The fund, which provides grants and other awards to certified CDFIs, was zeroed out in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.
The Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, an organization that helps credit unions reach underserved populations, has started collecting stories of the good done in local communities that comes along with CDFI funds. The Federation is using the #FundCDFIs hashtag on social media.
As part of its efforts, the Federation is highlighting positive things accomplished with CDFI funds, using a blog it will update throughout April. It already features a number of stories about how CDFI credit unions have been able to leverage CDFI funds to make major differences for their members and communities.
St. Louis Community CU is highlighted on the page, and CUNA noted the credit union when writing to appropriators in Congress requesting CDFI funding. St. Louis Community leveraged an $849,000 grant from the CDFI Fund into $22.7 million in auto loans through its Sure Rides Program.
The Federation also highlighted Fairfax County FCU, Fairfax, Va., which received a $1.5 million CDFI Financial Assistance grant in 2011. This supported its First Mortgage Program, which allowed more flexibility in the application process.
Fairfax County FCU was able to accept lower down payments, offer lower interest than typically dictated by loan-to-value, allow more flexible employment requirements, and in some cases waive closing fees.
Since receiving the CDFI grant, the credit union’s total assets have grown by $33.7 million and loans have increased by $50.7 million, with 77% of its loans held by low-income members.
CUNA has written to Congressional appropriators and issued an action alert to CDFI credit unions, urging those credit unions to contact their member of Congress and reach out to their members through CUNA’s Member Activation Program.