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CDCUs Receive $12.7 Million from CDFI Fund in Recent Awards Round

Contact: Rafael O. Morales, Public Affairs Officer ● 212-809-1850, ext. 206 ● rmorales@cdcu.coop


Low- and moderate-income communities across the nation will soon receive a boost to their local economies thanks to awards made today to 180 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund.  The announcement was made at El Maguey y La Tuna, a restaurant in New York City’s Lower East Side, which was financed by local CDFI, the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, the largest community development credit union (CDCU) in New York City.  On-hand to announce the CDFI Fund’s FY 2010 nationwide round of awards, totaling $104.9 million, were United States Treasurer Rosie Rios, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman José Serrano, and CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. 

Among the awards announced today, 21 awards totaling more than $12.7 million were made to CDCUs and the Federation itself, and all but three of the CDCU awardees are members of the Federation.  A breakdown of the CDCU awards from this round is available on the Federation’s website at: http://www.cdcu.coop/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageID=1685.

Linda Levy, CEO of the Lower East Side Peoples FCU, which received an award for $750,000, spoke about the impact that the CDFI Fund award will make to the credit union’s members.  “The most important thing about this grant is that it will enable us to make more funds available to businesses all over the five boroughs of New York,” Levy said. “We have almost tripled our small business lending this year, and a good part of that is due to the fact that the banks have stopped lending.  I think we all know this and we’re all very sorry about this, and we have been trying very hard to step into the fray, but it’s been hard because we don’t have a lot of capital, so this is really going to help us help the community.”

Also receiving a $750,000 award this round was Bethex FCU (Bronx, NY).  During her acceptance of the award, Joy Cousminer, President & CEO of the CDCU, explained that while some of the funds would be used to expand lending to the 60-plus small businesses they serve, the bulk of the funds will be used to provide their membership with a new teller area with three windows instead of two, and new bullet proof glass that will allow the members to speak without having to bend down and shout through the cash opening. 

“Our credit union is exactly 40 years old,” said Cousminer, “and when the Jews left Egypt they had to wonder the desert for 40 years before they were allowed into the Promised Land. We are looking at this as our 40 years in poverty, and we have finally reached the border of the Promised Land thanks to the CDFI Fund.”

Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal, who accepted the Federation’s award for $750,000, offered praise for the CDFI Fund. “The CDFI Fund is an absolutely unique source of innovative funding, which has enabled us as a national entity to support hundreds of low-income credit unions across the United States,” he said. “We’ve been doing this to help them build their capital during these very difficult times and to allow them to recycle their capital for additional lending… We are very grateful to this indispensable and irreplaceable federal agency.”

“The Federation has fought long and hard to ensure that CDCUs continue to receive their fair share of CDFI awards,” explained Rosenthal. “Today we’ve seen a much more equitable distribution with some of the largest number of awards to CDCUs in recent years, including various credit unions new to the Fund,” he said. “These awards will bring major impact to the communities served by CDCUs and CDFIs generally.”

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The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation) is a certified CDFI Intermediary representing more than 235 community development credit unions (CDCUs).  The Federation’s member CDCUs provide credit, savings, transaction services and financial education to more than 1.5 million residents of low-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the United States, and hold over $9.5 billion in community-controlled assets.  The Federation also represents 50 Community Development Partners, some of the nation’s largest credit unions with a special commitment to serving low-income communities.  Founded in 1974, the Federation is headquartered in Lower Manhattan with offices in Colorado Springs, CO; Madison, WI; and San Francisco, CA.   The Federation offers a wide range of advocacy, educational, training, investment, marketing, and outreach programs to support and assist CDCUs.  For more information about the Federation and its programs, please visit: www.cdcu.coop.

 

© 2010 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

 


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