CUs Are Awarded $7M In CDFI Grants

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Six credit unions and four credit union-backed organizations will receive almost $7-million in federal funding under the Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions program, most of it to help them expand or start affordable housing programs.

And another two dozen CUs will share almost a million dollars in small technical assistance grants from the CDFI program this year.

"These CDFIs are on the front lines of creating needed jobs and helping foster economic growth in our nation's rural and urban low-income communities, and in out Native-American, Alaska-Native and Native-Hawaiian communities," said Arthur Garcia, director of the CDFI Fund, in announcing the almost $58 million awarded to 176 organizations last week. "Today's awards will provide these community-based lenders the resources to do more--for example, to finance more mortgages for first-time homebuyers, to provide more investment capital to start or expand small businesses, to conduct more financial education classes for those individuals trying to understand and improve their credit history."

Credit unions have always played a central role in the CDFI fund, with almost 60 credit unions and affiliated groups receive more than $42 million since the inception of the program nine years ago, and credit union leaders, like Cliff Rosenthal, director of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, helping to create the CDFI program.

Among this year's CDFI recipients are the New York-based Federation, which will receive $1 million to produce a new capital product, a CDCU Family Home Fund to help finance non-conforming loans.

The biggest credit union-backed recipient is the Self-Help Ventures Fund, sister organization of Self-Help CU, in Durham, N.C., which received $2 million to serve as a reserve for its secondary loan program, under which it buys non-conforming mortgage loans.

Also, the North Carolina Minority Support Center, a Durham group organized by 10 North Carolina CDCUs, received $500,000 to allow it to continue making capital investments in its member credit unions.

Other credit union recipients are:

* Saguache County CU, Moffat, Colo., $250,000 to increase its capital and allow traditional deposits to be collected at its main branch;

* Bushwick Cooperative FCU, Brooklyn, N.Y., $262,720 to support its affordable housing program;

* Alternatives FCU, Ithaca, N.Y., $1.4 million to expand its affordable housing program;

* Lower East Side People's FCU, New York City, $560,000 to support affordable housing loans in one of New York City's tax-free Hot Zones on the Lower East Side;

* Hacienda Community CU, Portland, Ore., $99,000 to support its affordable housing program;

* Vermont Development CU, Burlington, Vt., $783,000 to increase its transportation and home loan capacity;

* Montana Credit Unions for Community Development, Helena, Mont., $28,300 to provide consulting services for local CDFIs.

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