CUNA Urges Appropriations Leaders to Fully Fund CDFI Fund

WASHINGTON – CUNA wrote to House and Senate Appropriations Committee leaders Wednesday urging full funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, for which the Donald Trump administration has requested Congress to eliminate funding. The fund, administered by the Treasury, makes capital grants, equity investments and awards for technical assistance to certified CDFIs.

“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-empowered stakeholders in their own future. 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,” CUNA’s letter reads. “Through this program, and as part of their mission to serve consumers, credit unions have helped many consumers--some of whom are facing the direst financial circumstances.

As of Jan. 31, credit unions make up 287 of the 1,075 certified CDFIs nationwide, according to the CDFI Fund.

In its letter, CUNA shared two local examples of how local credit unions use CDFI funds to serve communities in need:

  • Appalachian Community FCU, Johnson City, Tenn., which secured a CDFI grant this month to assist over 200 families in its community to become first time home buyers. This $2.1 million grant will provide $10,500 down payment assistance loans, resulting in enhanced homeownership, a broader tax base and providing work for the construction sector and local businesses; and
  • St. Louis Community CU, St. Louis, Mo., received a financial assistance grant from the CDFI Fund in 2013 to help launch a “Sure Rides” program, which provides 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. This $849,000 grant was leveraged into $22.7 million in auto loans.

“These examples represent just two credit unions and how the CDFI Fund is being used to grow local economies and serve the most economically distressed communities in the nation. Full funding for the CDFI Fund 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.

In addition to leaders of both appropriations committees, which includes House committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11) of New Jersey, CUNA sent its letter to the chairs and ranking members of both financial services and general government subcommittees.

 

in Industry News