Cathie Mahon

Federation Receives Grant for Shared Banking Platform

Seed capital will help smaller CUs work together.

June 17, 2013

Cathie Mahon

A $250,000 grant from Citi Community Development will enable the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions to develop a shared banking platform for its member credit unions.

The system will create uniform, shared procedures for back-office processing and services, including technical support, member service, and accounting support teams—increasing efficiency and enabling consistent delivery of services to millions of families who have limited access to affordable financial products and services.

The Federation’s network includes 244 community development credit unions (CDCUs) in 45 states, serving more than 1.7 million predominantly low- and moderate-income members.

“We need to build a system that helps us to aggregate our collective work and create some cost efficiencies," says Federation President/CEO Cathie Mahon.

The new system will help CDCUs:

  • Stay up on the changing financial environment;
  • Meet members' evolving expectations; and
  • Ease the growing compliance burden.

The idea for the Federation’s shared banking initiative has been brewing for years and will likely take considerable time to develop, Mahon said. The grant is a positive first step.

The Federation, Mahon says, will reach out to member credit unions this summer to learn more about how a shared banking platform can help.

Citi Community Development works to provide financial inclusion and economic empowerment for underserved individuals, families, and communities by working with nonprofits and public agencies across the country, according to its website.

“Community development credit unions fill a critical gap in access to banking services and credit for low-income and minority communities,” says Bob Annibale, Citi global director of community development and microfinance.

Mahon and Annibale addressed the Federation’s 2013 Annual Conference in Baltimore.

Citi also funds leadership program

In addition to the $250,000 grant for shared banking, Citi also pledged $125,000 to support a Federation leadership program.

The grant will fund six-month fellowship programs in up to 15 participating credit unions serving some of the nation's most impoverished and financially underserved communities. 

Today, the average age of CEOs at CDCUs is nearly 60, and the median age for credit union members is 47. To ensure that credit unions continue to focus on developing a pipeline of future leaders, the Federation created the Finance Leaders for America (CFLA) program.

CFLA’s intensive training program includes a two-week summer institute, including one week of in-person training, online training, and ongoing support.