CU Breakthrough™ Sets Record for CDFI Certifications

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

The National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions’ (Federation’s) CU Breakthrough™ consulting service is pleased to announce that in less than six weeks, between March 15 and April 30, it assisted nearly 40 credit unions in the preparation of certification applications to the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.

This record demand for certification came from credit unions looking to tap into Treasury’s Community Development Capital Initiative (CDCI), which is making low-interest, long-term secondary capital available to CDFI-certified community development credit unions (CDCUs). The Federation succesfully met the increased demand by developing a methodology based on random sampling, which allowed it to determine target market eligibility much more accurately and efficiently than ever before.

Only seven months into the current year, this is already the largest number of credit union CDFI certification applications ever submitted to the CDFI Fund in any given year. If all credit union applications are approved, the total number of CDFI-certified credit unions will increase by 25 percent.

More CUs Certified as CDFIs

The most recent announcement from the CDFI Fund listed seven new CDFI-certified CDCUs: Cooperative Center FCU (Berkeley, CA), CoVantage CU (Antigo, WI), Foss Avenue Baptist Church FCU (Flint, MY), Liberty County Teachers FCU (Liberty, TX), Northland Area FCU (Oscada, MI), Potlatch No. 1 FCU (Lewiston, ID), and SunTide FCU (Corpus Christi, TX).  Six credit unions were also certified in May: Birmingham Financial FCU (Birmingham, AL), Credit Union of Atlanta (Atlanta, GA), Fidelis FCU (New York, NY), Old West FCU (Portland, OR), Pacific Crest FCU (Klamath Falls, OR), and UNO FCU (New Orleans, LA).

These new certifications bringing the total number of CDFI-certified credit unions to an all-time high of 186, and all but two of the eleven newly-certified CDCUs are members of the Federation who took advantage of its CU Breakthrough™ consulting service to apply for certification.

“We now have a system that allows us to prepare CDFI certification applications much more rapidly, and with a nearly-100% success rate,” explained Pablo DeFilippi, Director of Membership Services at the Federation. “With this new technique, we were able to assist a large number of credit unions that otherwise would not have been able to meet Treasury’s April 30 deadline to qualify for the CDCI program,” he added.

Re-certification Assistance Available

Just last week, the CDFI Fund announced that CDFIs whose certification had expired and had been automatically extended, would be required to submit re-certification applications by July 30, 2010 for CDFIs that applied to the CDCI program, and by August 30, 2010 for all others.  To help CDCUs with the recertification process, the Federation is offering fee-based technical assistance to all credit unions through its CU Breakthrough™ consulting service, and limited free telephone consultations to member CDCUs.

In addition to assisting credit unions with CDFI certification, the Federation also helped many credit unions apply for low-income designation, another prerequisite for participation in the CDCI program.  “Many credit unions don’t realize they qualify for low-income designation,” said DeFilippi, “But having the designation gives them the power to accept secondary capital and it also lifts the 12.25% member business lending cap.  The designation provides credit unions serving some of our nation’s poorest communities with the tools to grow more rapidly, while providing affordable financing to communities in serious need of investment.”

Size Does Not Matter

“The Federation is committed to helping credit unions of all sizes realize their potential in serving the underserved,” DeFilippi added. “The CDFI Fund is the single largest source of capital for CDFIs in the United States, having awarded more than $80 million to CDCUs since 1995.  We are proud to report that 98% of those awards went to Federation-member CDCUs.”

“With a projected budget of $250 million for 2011, plus the new Community Development Capital Initiative, which could provide another $200 million in secondary capital investments to CDFI-certified credit unions, there has never been a better time for credit unions to take advantage of this opportunity!”

“It doesn’t matter whether you’ve never thought of yourself as a CDCU,” stressed DeFilippi,“If your field of membership encompasses significant pockets of low- and moderate-income people, then you too can do more serve them… and the Federation’s CU Breakthrough™ is here to show you how!”

Credit unions interested in learning more about CDFI certification, low-income desgnation, or to simply learn how to more effectively reach out to underserved segments within their membership, are encouraged to contact the Federation’s CU Breakthrough™ consulting services.

Additional information is available on the Federation’s website ( or by contacting Pablo DeFilippi at, or (800) 437-8711 x304.

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:


© 2010 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.


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