New Orleans Firemen’s Federal Credit Union has been serving underserved communities since before credit unions officially existed. While the membership has evolved over the last nine decades, the mission to serve those in need is very much a part of its mission. New Orleans Firemen’s FCU has grown to $246 million in assets and now leverages financial assistance awards from the Community Development Financial Institution Fund to “aggressively serve designated low-income areas,” CEO Judy DeLucca said.
With the help of CU Strategic Planning, the credit union has received six awards since 2019 totaling more than $15.5 million: $8.5 million from the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, plus $7 million in secondary capital from the Treasury’s Emergency Capital Investment Program.
The number of lives the credit union can change is largely dependent upon the CDFI Fund awards it earns. DeLucca explained, “CU Strategic Planning has been such an important partner because they’re good at telling our story. We did these things for years, but we didn't go out and talk about it that much. We just did what we believe we're supposed to be doing.
“Credit unions exist to serve the underserved individuals, to serve those people who don't have access to fairly priced products and services and, and without credit unions and CDFIs, without that credit union heart, their families would continue to be unable to bridge that wealth divide and start building generational wealth that has been denied them for so many years."