(November 14, 2006 – New York, NY) Today, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (the Federation) publicly rolled-out its 2007 New York State advocacy agenda to a group of representatives from national, state, and city agencies during the 5th Annual Financial Literacy Day Celebration in mid-town Manhattan.
Government officials at the celebration included representatives from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC), the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA); the New York State Banking Department; the New York City Comptrollers Office; and the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs. Also represented were credit unions from the New York/New Jersey area and as far away as Virginia (Navy Federal CU); the New York State Credit Union Foundation; asset-building advocates and non-profit groups; and a number of banking partners and funders.
The Federation’s Executive Director, Cliff Rosenthal, presented the Federation’s program for state and city policy initiatives in the coming year in a paper entitled Building Assets, Fighting Poverty, Protecting Consumers: Policies to Improve the Economic Health of New Yorkers. The proposal presents a 4-pronged approach to poverty alleviation and asset development anchored by the establishment of a New York State Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund at an initial appropriation of $15 million.
Cliff Rosenthal, addresses the 2006 Financial Literacy Day Celebration Attendees.
The Federation also called for state-level incentives to promote savings for low-income families; development of comprehensive statewide campaigns for financial education to children, youth, and adults; and expansion of the Banking Development District eligibility criteria to credit unions, and potentially other CDFIs.
“The Federation has been active in starting a New York State CDFI Fund ever since we helped create the national CDFI Fund since the mid- 90s,” explained Rosenthal. “Through the Federation’s support, the New York State Coalition of CDFIs was successful in getting a yearly appropriation of $1 million per year to fund women and minority small businesses through a program administered by the Empire State Development Corporation, but while important, this is just a portion of what is actually needed to help low- and moderate-income communities in New York State. This year, however, the tide is changing and could see the realization of a truly significant statewide CDFI Fund.”
The changing tide Rosenthal is referring to, are two bills that passed both the New York State Assembly and Senate in 2006 that pave the way for the full-scale establishment of a state CDFI Fund in the coming year.
“We are very excited by this prospect, but there is still much to be done,” explained Rafael Morales, Public Affairs Officer at the Federation, “We still need the Assembly to reconcile with the Senate’s bill, which incorporated recommendations by the New York State CDFI Coalition and the Empire State Development Corporation. Once we get that done, we need to get the program on the Governor’s budget early next year. We have had preliminary discussions with Governor-elect Spitzer’s team and anticipate his support, but our work in the next couple of months will be crucial,” added Morales.
The full text of the advocacy paper is available by clicking here.