Bridgeway Federal Credit Union Receives CDFI Certification to Help the Financially Underserved in its Community

Poughkeepsie, NY – December 27, 2012 – Casting a broader net to help the financially underserved within its community, Bridgeway Federal Credit Union ($73 million: 9,385 members; Poughkeepsie, NY) has applied for and successfully received its Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Certification from the United States Treasury. With assistance from CDFI certification and grant writing firm CU Strategic Planning, this achievement for Bridgeway FCU signifies that it serves a vital role in its community’s development – as well as opening the door to receive future grant money that will create positive changes for its low- to moderate-income “working class” members.

According to Bridgeway FCU’s President and CEO Michelle McCourt, the credit union applied for the CDFI certification because it has always assisted financially underserved individuals – those who do not have access to traditional financial services. “This certification provides more opportunities through the CDFI Fund to apply for grants that will develop more products for this specialized market we serve,” McCourt says.

The CDFI Certification benefits Bridgeway FCU in three ways:

  1. It enables the credit union to establish partners in the community, so it can assist with financial services. For example, if a non-profit has a client that is struggling to pay their rent, Bridgeway can work with them to provide budget counseling to find ways to reduce their monthly expenses. The credit union can also refer its members to local non-profits for services outside the financial scope.
  2. It enables the credit union to apply for funding to train all employees to become Community Development Certified Financial Counselors. The training and certification help Bridgeway staff to identify, intervene and coach distressed members. By having their staff certified as Community Development Certified Financial Counselors Bridgeway joins an elite group of leading CDFIs which the U.S. Treasury granted funds that set a new standard for deploying services to help consumers budget, avoid predatory loans, achieve home ownership, and manage debt.
  3. It enables the credit union to apply for funding to develop specific lending products, such as micro business loans. Bridgeway has already developed a “credit builder” loan and “down payment builder” loan – as well as offering micro personal loans, alternatives to payday lenders. The credit union also continues to create new products that will benefit members who may not ordinarily receive financing from traditional lenders.

Bridgeway FCU’s first step with its certification is to have its branch managers and frontline employees complete the financial counseling training, which starts January 2013. Its second task is to develop additional partnerships with local non-profits in the community to reach underbanked or underserved individuals.

“Since we are the only CDFI-certified financial institution in our area, individuals who need our resources will have greater access that comes along with the capacity building of CDFI certification and U.S. Treasury funding,” McCourt says. “As a partner, we can achieve more together than operating individually. By combining our efforts with partners, we will enhance the financial and social well-being of our communities.”

“Congratulations to Bridgeway FCU for its certification. This achievement will allow the credit union to increase its reach to the underbanked with the services they desperately need for financial footing,” says CU Strategic Planning’s President/CEO Chuck Cockburn. “As a result of these efforts, Bridgeway FCU’s members and community will greatly benefit. The credit union, in turn, will enhance its visibility as a trusted financial resource, which will ultimately increase its value for future growth.”

About Bridgeway Federal Credit Union
Opening its doors in 1935 to serve state transportation and public works employees, Bridgeway Federal Credit Union is the oldest continuously operating credit union in Hudson Valley, NY. Bridgeway FCU provides a broad range of financial services that are personal and responsive to the member’s needs through service oriented programs, while safeguarding member’s assets, maintaining stability, and affording the membership a role in the credit union’s continuing development. For more information, visit 

About CU Strategic Planning
Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, with satellite offices in San Diego and Boston, CU Strategic Planning is the only strategic planning facilitator in the United States with the mission to help credit unions realize their potential through the International Credit Union Operating Principles. It is widely considered the #1 writer of credit union Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) grant applications. No firm serving credit unions writes and wins more CDFI awards than CU Strategic Planning.  Its “Miracle Makers” have 100 percent success with CDFI certification. Their signature training program, Community Development Certified Financial Counseling, is a groundbreaking software training and accreditation tool being adopted by award winning CDFI certified credit unions across the country. For more information, visit

More News