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68 CDFI Credit Unions Call for Full FY2018 Funding
Thursday, September 28, 2017 6:40 AM

Sixty-eight certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) credit unions, along with Credit Union National Association, wrote to Congress Wednesday to strongly support full funding for the Treasury's CDFI Fund at $248 million for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018, the same amount Congress appropriated for FY 2017.

Of the 68 signatories, six were Texas credit unions, including Border Federal Credit Union in Del Rio, GECU in El Paso, Houston Metropolitan Federal Credit Union in Houston, Kerr County Federal Credit Union in Kerrville, Select Federal Credit Union in San Antonio, and Texas Community Federal Credit Union in Kingsville.

"CDFIs such as Community Development Credit Unions are charged with supplying low-income, distressed communities with traditional banking services such as savings accounts and personal loans, and offering individuals the tools needed to become self-sufficient stakeholders in their own future," the letter reads. "The CDFI Fund uses small amounts of federal dollars to leverage significant amounts of private and non-federal dollars, and has added a tremendous boost to the CDFI industry."

The letter highlights two examples of CDFI credit unions leveraging funds to make an impact in their communities:

  • Appalachian Community FCU, Johnson City, Tenn., used a $2.1 million CDFI grant to provide $10,500 down payments for over 200 families in its community to become first-time home buyers; and
  • St. Louis Community CU, St. Louis, which leveraged and $849,000 grant into $22.7 million in auto loans through a program to provide affordable car loans to low- and moderate-income individuals and families so they can have access to reliable transportation to get to and from work.

"These examples represent just 2 credit unions and how the CDFI Fund is being used to grow local economies and serve the most economically distressed communities in the nation," the letter reads. "Fully funding the CDFI Fund at $248 million is a good investment by the federal government. Good paying jobs lead to more tax revenue and less dependence on the federal social safety net."

The CDFI Fund was zeroed out in a proposed budget from the administration. The appropriations bill passed by the House last week funds the CDFI Fund at $190 million, an amount still at pre-recession levels. As of July 31, credit unions make up 316 of 1,134 certified CDFIs nationwide.