WASHINGTON (2/4/15)--As federal government agencies begin shedding more light on their 2016 budgets, more good news has come to light regarding initiatives supported by the Credit Union National Association. This includes initiatives within the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Treasury Department and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The USAID's Cooperative Development Program (CDP) and Microenterprise and Microfinance initiatives have seen their finding levels remain the same in President Barack Obama's proposal.
The administration requested $10.5 million for the CDP, the same level as last year, and an increase over the $10 million that was allotted for the program the previous three years. The CDP is a five-year competitive grant program that responds to the needs of local, host country cooperatives such as credit unions by utilizing the expertise and resources of U.S. cooperatives.
The World Council of Credit Unions' CDP program is a five-year project with multiple phases. The first phase included credit unions in Mexico and Guatemala and the ongoing second phase includes credit unions in Kenya. It intends to help them develop a "toolbox" to address financial needs and market barriers of rural producers.
The Microenterprise and Microfinance programs would receive $265 million under the administration's proposal, the same amount it received the previous four years. The programs seek to improve the quality and affordability of financial services, extend access to excluded populations and assist small farmers and business by linking them with buyers and suppliers.
Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will see an increase in the Treasury's CDFI Fund under the current proposal, with $233.5 million requested, more than last year's $230 million, as announced in yesterday's News Now. The CDFI Fund works to spur economic development and job growth in underserved communities through grants and awards.
The CDFI Fund announced the breakdown of its budget Tuesday, which includes:
As of Dec. 31, credit unions represent 243 of 933 CDFIs.
HUD also released a detailed breakdown of its proposed $49.3 billion (an 8.7% increase over the current year) budget. In addition to a number of initiatives aimed at combating homelessness, expanding the housing voucher program and funding public housing operating funds, it includes the previously announced reduction in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance premiums.
According to the budget, reducing the premiums by 0.5% will save the average household $900 per year, and benefit 2 million to 3 million households over the next three years, all while allowing the FHA's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund to have a projected end-of-year capital reserve balance of $18.8 billion.