CDFI Credit Union Round Table at GAC: This is a Session you Can’t Afford to Miss!

By. Pablo DeFilippi, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions

For CDFI-certified credit unions across the country, April 1, 2013 is no joke.

In a move expected by industry experts, the CDFI Fund announced earlier this month its enforcement of a three-year certification expiration, requiring all credit unions certified before Feb. 1, 2010 to reapply no later than April 1.

Those credit unions executives attending CUNA’s upcoming Governmental Affairs Conference have a unique opportunity to participate in a round table hosted by CUNA and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation) that will provide specific information about changes to the CDFI certification process, as well as new programs, long-term investment prospects, and opportunities to shape the CDFI Fund’s agenda moving forward.

The Federation had long anticipated these actions by the CDFI Fund as the certification is valid for 3 years and for a long period of time, the Fund had just been extending it. Fortunately for the credit union industry, we have developed a methodology based on statistically valid random sampling of credit unions borrowers through which we can demonstrate a credit union’s target market eligibility. This process is not only more efficient as it greatly reduces the amount of data credit unions need to use, but also it provides an effective mechanism to measure those activities on a regular basis, which is one of the new requirements CDFI certified CUs are subject to.

We’ve spent years working with the CDFI Fund to simplify the CDFI certification process and have made significant progress in some key areas:

  • Primary Mission: Low Income Designated credit unions automatically meet this test
  • Target Market: The use of approved random sampling methodology to demonstrate eligibility eliminates a huge barrier as credit unions can quickly learn if they’re eligible before they invest too much time and resources in this process
  • Accountability: We’re expecting a significant policy change that recognizes the unique governance structure of credit unions and that will streamline this process even more.

Although the timing of this deadline-driven mandatory recertification puts significant pressure on CDFI certified credit unions, some of which have been working  very hard on their CDFI funding applications (due on February 28) or simply are too busy meeting the needs of the communities they serve and don’t have the time to take care of this process, the Federation provides turnkey assistance to credit unions seeking to recertify or contemplating to submit a new application.

Yesterday, the Federation hosted a webinar specifically on this topic and we’ll revisit some of the key aspects of the recertification process during the upcoming CDFI Credit Union Roundtable.

The session is also open to all current and potential Low Income Designated credit union leaders that have an interest in exploring how to make CDFI Fund investment opportunities work for their credit union. With last summer’s NCUA announcement allowing more than 1,000 credit unions to opt-in to the low-income designation, we anticipate that this roundtable will be even more successful than the one we hosted last year. CDFI-certified and low-income-designated credit unions could soon represent as much as a third of the entire credit union system.

The round table will feature representatives from the Fund, the U.S. Treasury Department, the Federation, and CEOs from credit unions sharing best practices and sustainable approaches to leveraging CDFI certification. Other topics include long-term prospects for the CDFI industry, the newly released regulations for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program and opportunities to demonstrate community development outcomes.

The CDFI Certification is a valuable tool that, together with the Low-Income Designation, gives qualifying credit unions access to external resources and partnership opportunities that can significantly strengthen internal capacity to propel a credit union to its next phase of growth and relevance. The Federation is committed to helping credit unions gain access to the resources they need to better serve low-income consumers and underserved communities.

The Federation was instrumental in the campaign that established the CDFI Fund, and credit unions have received more than $135 million in awards since its inception. There are now more than 220 CDFI-certified credit unions, with collective assets of almost $15 billion, providing services to two million primarily low-income consumers. The Federation has submitted over a hundred successful CDFI certification and recertification applications.

If you’re coming to the GAC, this is a session you can’t miss. Hope to see you there.


CDFI Credit Union Round Table

Monday, February 25, 2013; 12-1:30 p.m.

2013 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Room 202 B

801 Mount Vernon Place NW

Washington, DC 20001

Stop by booth #110

Space is limited. Register online today for this must-attend event:

Pablo DeFilippi

Pablo DeFilippi

Pablo DeFilippi leads Inclusiv’s membership development and engagement strategies and manages Inclusiv/Network, a network of community development finance practitioners that provide valuable consulting services to CDCUs. Mr. DeFilippi ... Web: Details