CUNA Mutual, Inclusiv team up to boost CDFI certification

CUNA Mutual Group and Inclusiv have teamed up to try to get the word out about the benefits of being certified as a community development financial instituion.

The two groups announced Wednesday that they have launched a program called the Community Development Credit Union CDFI Awareness and Certification Campaign to tout the benefits of certification and to create a network for existing CDFI credit unions to learn about and access additional resources.

“We strongly support the expansion of CDFI-certified credit unions to help provide financial literacy and products to communities that are unserved, or underserved by traditional financial institutions,” Larry Blanchard, CUNA Mutual Group corporate and legislative affairs consultant, said in a press release. “CDFI credit unions advance CUNA Mutual Group’s and credit unions’ commitment to inclusivity in serving people of modest means, whether in urban or rural communities.”

The groups said CDFI institutions have played a critical role providing Paycheck Protection Program loans and emergency small-dollar loans to those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The groups also noted that the timing could not be better for credit unions to consider becoming a CDFI. Congress may include $12 billion for CDFIs and minority depository institutions as part of a stimulus package being considered.

“We believe more than 700 credit unions would be able to access and apply for such funds,” Blanchard said. “With the credit union system, Inclusiv and CUNA Mutual Group have aggressively lobbied for such legislation since the pandemic, and we urge Congress to pass the stimulus package.”

Inclulsiv CEO Cathie Mahon said the campaign will also create a space for sharing knowledge and tools aimed at expanding certification among eligible credit unions.

There are currently more than 300 CDFI-certified credit unions that manage more than $14 billion in assets and serve more than 12 million consumers, the groups said.

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