Suncoast CU backs federation's CDFI efforts in Fla.

March 11, 2015

NEW YORK (3/12/15)--A joint effort by the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and Suncoast CU, Tampa, Fla., will provide funding to assist as many as 10 credit unions in getting community development financial institution (CDFI) certification through the federation's CU Breakthrough consulting group.

The partnership was announced Monday at CUNA's Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Department of Treasury's CDFI Fund provides technical assistance and financial assistance grants to certified, community-focused credit unions and other financial institutions. Since 1974, it has awarded $2 billion to CDFIs to promote the delivery of financial services in impoverished communities. Suncoast CU was certified as a CDFI in May, with the assistance of the federation, a CDFI intermediary.

"Federation research has established that CDFI-certified credit unions make efficient, effective use of CDFI grants, helping thousands of low-income, minority and under-banked individuals along a path toward greater financial security," said federation President/CEO Cathie Mahon. She noted that CU Breakthrough's 2014 certification campaign resulted in the certification of an unprecedented number of credit unions.

Tom Dorety, Suncoast president/CEO, said the effort "will help provide financial literacy to communities that are un-served or underserved by traditional financial institutions. The greatest service we can offer is to teach our communities about the freedom of well-managed personal finances."

Florida credit unions with assets of less than $100 million and that are interested in serving low- to moderate-income consumers can contact Pablo DeFilippi at Certification takes about six weeks. It involves seven steps, including target market, legal entity, primary mission, financing entity, accountability, development services and nongovernment entity. See the white paper, CDFI Certification: A Building Block for Credit Union Growth, for more information.