As strong proponents of the credit union community, and particularly Community Development Financial Institution certifications and financial awards, we are regularly in communication with a variety of people from all over the country supporting our cause. From Capitol Hill to community development organizations right in your neighborhood, CU Strategic Planning is advocating for CDFI credit unions and those that are interested.
“Credit unions thrive in an environment where they understand the rules of the road,” CU Strategic Planning CEO Stacy Augustine says. “Many use the third and fourth quarter of the year to build out their strategic and tactical plans. We deeply appreciate the CDFI Fund’s scholarly consideration of comments from the community development industry. However, continued delay in releasing the revised certification standards will have a heightened effect on credit union planning if further delayed.”
Of course, we aren’t in this fight alone. We thank both CUNA and NAFCU for submitting letters in advance of a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing that occurred last week, How Community Development Financial Institutions Promote Housing and Economic Opportunity.
Calling the current CDFI environment “challenging” in its letter, CUNA writes, “Currently, CDFI-certified credit unions seeking recertification from the Department of Treasury, and those seeking certification, are waiting for the Fund to release its updated application requirements. Additionally, credit unions have expressed concerns regarding the acceptance of grants tied to CDFI certification maintenance or unreleased reporting requirements. The longer Treasury delays finalization of these requirements, the longer communities across the nation miss out on housing and economic opportunities. Further, if requirements are set outside of the risk tolerance of credit union governing boards, it is possible there may be a decrease of participation by credit unions in this space. This would represent a tremendous loss to underserved and low-income communities given CDFI-certified credit unions primacy in offering mortgage loans and a full array of consumer financial products and services. We urge the subcommittee, through this hearing, to underscore what is at stake as CDFIs wait for the Fund complete its updated certification process.”
NAFCU’s letter voices support for the bipartisan CDFI Fund Transparency Act that calls for enhanced oversight by Congress of the CDFI Fund, while also criticizing the “months long blackout period” for CDFI certification applications. Additionally, NAFCU’s letter reads, “NAFCU is also pleased to support S. 869, the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program Improvement Act. The Bond Guarantee Program has provided more than $2 billion in guarantees to support lending and investment in underserved communities. The CDFI Bond Guarantee Program provides a valuable line of long-term capital to CDFIs through the Federal Financing Bank. This legislation reduces the minimum loan amount, creating an immediate and positive impact on CDFIs and the communities they serve.”
Our own leadership also wants to take this opportunity to reiterate that we have our fingers on the pulse of the CDFI community, including inside the beltway. Our experienced team continues to work diligently on our clients’ certification and CDFI Fund financial awards applications. As political pressure mounts, we are ready when the CDFI Fund is. Is your credit union ready to learn more?