Large CUs, Federation of CDCUs Enter Partnership

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A dozen large, mainstream credit unions have agreed to become charter members of the National Federation of Community Development CUs' new Community Development Partners Program, under which the two sides will share resources and information aimed at expanding credit unions' reach into underserved communities.

Under the program unveiled last week during CUNA's GAC, the mainstream credit unions will provide resources and expertise to help strengthen the condition and ability of the CDCUs, while learning new methods at reaching out to the CDCUs' typical core underserved memberships, according to Cliff Rosenthal, head of the Federation. "This is an effort to combine the unwavering missions of CDCUs with the capacity, scope, and market reach of other credit unions," he said.

The program will not only assist the Federation's 225 member credit unions in improving their operations and outreach, but will help those mainstream CUs that are committed to expanding service to low-income people.

Rosenthal emphasized the partnership is not only an attempt to share resources to the benefit of both parties, but an effort to expand credit union services to pockets of the American population that have little to no financial services available to them.

"The Federation recognizes that as hard as CDCUs work, as much as we grow, there are many millions of people who we cannot currently reach," he stated. He also acknowledged the growing number of mainstream credit unions adding underserved areas to their FOM. "They may not have-as CDCUs-a primary mission of serving low-income people," said Rosenthal. "But they have important capacities to serve. We believe that by allying with those credit unions, together we can reach many more communities, many more people in need of credit union services, than we as the Federation and CDCU movement could alone."

Herbert Hoosman, president of Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo., one of the initial partners, said he hopes the program will help strengthen small credit unions. "Other than giving, what I hope to gain from this is to learn what it takes to become a CDCU," said Hoosman.

The partners are: Navy FCU, Arrowhead CU, Boeing Employees CU, Cincinnati Central CU, Patelco CU, North Carolina State Employees CU, T&C FCU, Water & Power Community CU, Houston Municipal Employees FCU, and SCE FCU.

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