ST. LOUIS, Mo. (9/18/13)--Thirteen Missouri credit unions were awarded Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification from the U.S. Treasury Department in an unprecedented, mass certification as part of Missouri Credit Union Association's "Community Development Across Missouri" initiative.
The mass certification was funded by the largest grant in the history of the Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation. CDFI grant writing firm CU Strategy Planning created the initiative for MCUA.
The credit unions are now eligible to submit a grant application annually requesting up to $2 million for loan loss reserves, capital reserves, and new products and services to support increased lending. Corresponding CDFI grants also were submitted for approval through the Community Development Across Missouri program. The loan loss reserves requested in those grant applications and the second wave of CDFI applications from Missouri in 2014 can unlock $200 million in loans to working class families in the state during the next three years, while creating 14,500 jobs.
The new CDFI certified credit unions are:
"Our success with receiving the Treasury's approval of these CDFI certifications validates the Credit Union National Association's educational efforts to all Americans and Congress that not-for-profit credit unions have always and continue to be of service to working class people of modest means," said MCUA President/CEO Don Cohenour.
MCUA Board Chairman Brian Eyestone said it demonstrates "what is possible for credit unions across America. "CDFI certification opens the door to grant funding, which supports our credit union efforts to increase services and loans to good, hard working members hit the hardest with layoffs and employment at reduced salaries during America's economic recovery. Credit unions have always been about 'People Helping People.' The CDFI certification allows Missouri's credit unions an even greater ability to fulfill this mission."
CU Strategic Planning Founder Jamie Chase noted that the company's analysis of credit unions in Missouri revealed that 100 of the state's 134 credit unions meet the Treasury's eligibility requirements. "Our research shows the same is true of credit unions in every state. In fact, there are two more CDFI certifications pending in Missouri this year, and another 10 that will be submitted for approval in 2014."
"It is not easy for a credit union association to demonstrate the incredible leadership the MCUA showed with this groundbreaking program," said Stacy Augustine, president of CU Strategic Planning, adding that new doors are opening for the credit union movement as a result of the program. For example, the Opportunity Finance Network's Annual Conference has added a track specifically for credit unions for the first time in that organization's 30-year history.
Creating awareness of credit unions' value and fostering service excellence are some of the components of CUNA's and the leagues' Unite for Good campaign, which rallies credit unions toward the strategic vision of America's consumers choosing credit unions as their best financial partner.