CUNA and 68 certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) credit unions wrote to Congress Wednesday to strongly support full funding for the Treasury's CDFI Fund at $248 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, the same amount Congress appropriated for FY 2017.
"CDFIs such as Community Development Credit Unions are charged with supplying low-income, distressed communities with traditional banking services such as savings accounts and personal loans, and offering individuals the tools needed to become self-sufficient stakeholders in their own future," the letter reads. "The CDFI Fund uses small amounts of federal dollars to leverage significant amounts of private and non-federal dollars, and has added a tremendous boost to the CDFI industry."
The letter highlights two examples of CDFI credit unions leveraging funds to make an impact in their communities:
"These examples represent just 2 credit unions and how the CDFI Fund is being used to grow local economies and serve the most economically distressed communities in the nation," the letter reads. "Fully funding the CDFI Fund at $248 million is a good investment by the federal government. Good paying jobs lead to more tax revenue and less dependence on the federal social safety net."
The CDFI Fund was zeroed out in a proposed budget from the administration. The appropriations bill passed by the House last week funds the CDFI Fund at $190 million, an amount still at pre-recession levels.
As of July 31, credit unions make up 316 of 1,134 certified CDFIs nationwide.