By David Morrison May 15, 2014
DETROIT — Relatively few of the roughly 900 credit unions the NCUA recognized as low income in 2013 have joined the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the organization said Thursday.
Interviewed by CU Times during the organization’s 40th annual conference in Detroit, Pablo DeFillippi, the federation’s director of membership and business development, did note that some of the newly designated LICUs, such as the nation’s largest, the $5.7 billion Suncoast Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. have joined, but said the organization still sought to work with more.
DeFillippi said the organization had not expected a rush of new member credit unions right away, citing a lag time between when a credit union might be recognized as low income and when it might start understanding it is also a community development credit union.
In many cases, he said, credit unions may already have programs which serve lower income members but not recognize them as community development programs or identify them as such.
Some examples could include financial education efforts or secured credit card or other loans designed to help members improve their credit scores. Specialized savings accounts such as individual development accounts are another example.
DeFillippi stressed that the National Federation viewed the low-income recognition as a building block credit unions could use to build up their efforts to reach out to lower income members and communities. Other blocks would include recognition as community development financial institutions, he added.
“Each of these is a block credit unions can use to construct a platform that will let them make a real impact in their communities,” he said, adding that the National Federation has consultants available to help credit unions evaluate what they may already be doing in this area.
“I know everyone will expect that I would say this,” DeFillippi said with a smile. “But we have 40 years’ experience working in this area, after all.”