WASHINGTON (7/7/14)--The U.S. Department of the Treasury has released the annual report for its Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, covering fiscal year 2013.
CDFIs and Community Development Entities (CDEs) made $6.8 billion in loans and investments last year, which helped finance 7,000 business, create or maintain almost 50,000 jobs and finance more than 19,500 affordable housing units.
Credit unions represent 177 out of the 811 CDFIs active at the end of 2013. The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the Credit Union National Association jointly released a white paper in May to assess the impact of CDFI certification on credit unions (News Now May 20).
The CDFI Fund is designed to foster business growth and job creation and revitalize low-income communities. Dennis Nolan, acting director of the CDFI fund, wrote in the Treasury Department's blog that 2013 was an eventful year for the program.
"It was with an eye to the future that last year the CDFI Fund began a rigorous, evidence-based evaluation of our cornerstone CDFI program to better understand its impact and to inform policy in the future," he wrote. "In 2013, we also launched the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, which has the potential to transform the CDFI industry by injecting substantial new long-term capital into our nation's most distressed communities."
"[E]ach CDFI and CDE certified, each business financed, each job created and each housing unit, daycare center, charter school, or health center developed represents a critical step in the transformation of one life, one family and one community," Nolan wrote.
The federation/CUNA white paper compares CDFI-certified credit unions with peer groups of low-income designated and mainstream credit unions. It found, among other things, that CDFI credit unions tend to focus most of their loans in economically disadvantaged communities, yet financial growth and performance tends to meet or exceed mainstream institutions.
The paper also found that CDFI certification is within reach of thousands of credit unions that "make a strategic decision and take decisive action to address the needs of these underserved communities can become eligible for CDFI certification."
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