WASHINGTON (1/8/14)--Credit union priorities such as the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), and Cooperative Development Program (CDP), as well as microenterprise and microfinance development must be considered as appropriations bills are developed, the Credit Union National Association said in Tuesday letters to legislators.
In letters to U.S. House and Senate Appropriations financial services subcommittee leaders, CUNA asked Congress to restore funding to the CDFI Fund and the CDRLF Fund at levels set in 2012. The suggested funding levels were $221 million for the CDFI Fund and $1.25 million for the CDRLF.
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. 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.
In another pair of separate letters, CUNA and the World Council of Credit Unions also advocated for funding the CDP and microenterprise and microfinance development, all of which "play a critical role in increasing access to safe and affordable financial services to people in developing countries." Such programs need adequate funding to "continue to help credit unions provide credit, investment capital, and financial services to distressed communities worldwide," CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney and World Council President/CEO Brian Branch wrote.
CUNA and the World Council urged Congress to maintain the current funding levels of $10 million for the CDP and $265 million for microenterprise and microfinance development.
The CDP accelerates economic growth, enhances the understanding and use of democratic principles, and improves stability in some of the world's most impoverished countries, enabling individuals in those countries "to access high quality, reasonably priced financial services by building networks, creating enabling regulatory environments, and providing training to credit union leaders and staff," Cheney and Branch wrote.
Cheney and Branch also noted that the microenterprise and microfinance development program has allowed the World Council to expand financial access to nearly 100,000 farmers and other credit union members in Afghanistan who previously did not have access to financial services.
For the CUNA/World Council letters, use the resource links.