ASI FCU and Lower East Side Peoples’ FCU Chase $8.7 MM in Grants & Loans
(August 7, 2008 – New York, NY) On Monday, August 4, ASI FCU (Harahan, LA) and the Lower East Side Peoples’ FCU (New York, NY), two prominent community development credit unions (CDCUs), were selected as semifinalists for the 2008 Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance. The awards recognize excellence among community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that responsibly serve low-income and low-wealth people and communities. However, in addition to recognition, winners also receive major grants and loans to help expand their innovative efforts, thanks to generous support of the Wachovia Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
The two CDCUs are among ten selected semifinalists, but they are not in direct competition with each other since the awards are given in two main categories, based on the amount of lending activities within each institution. With over $285 million in assets, ASI FCU is chasing the top prize category for institutions with more than $50 million in lending capital, with more than $20 million in assets, the Lower East Side People’s FCU (LESPFCU) is hoping to win the award for institutions with $10 - $50 million in capital dedicated to lending.
If selected, ASI FCU could receive a $5 million below-market loan plus a $500,000 unrestricted grant, and LESPFCU stands to win a $2.5 million below-market loans plus a $250,000 unrestricted grant. In addition to the two large prizes, another four grants of $25,000 each will be made to CDFIs that have demonstrated excellence in advocacy, community impact, financing, or innovation.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected as a semifinalist for the Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance,” said Mignhon Tourné, President/CEO of ASI FCU. “This nomination validates ASI's past successes and continued commitment to delivering affordable financial services to underserved communities. A Wachovia NEXT Award would allow ASI to provide local small businesses with innovative business lending strategies to help them remain afloat in the post-Katrina economy. The award would ultimately bring ASI to the next level in community development banking,” Tourné added.
“We are honored and thrilled to have been selected as semifinalists,” said Linda Levy, CEO of LESPFCU. “If we do go on to win the award, it will help us tremendously to better serve our current membership and to expand service into other underserved communities in New York City.”
“ASI Federal Credit Union and the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union are two long-time members of the Federation who have been doing outstanding work in their communities for many years,” explained Cliff Rosenthal, President / CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (Federation). “ASI [FCU] has been serving low-income people in the greater New Orleans area for years, but their role in building communities became even more vital after Hurricane Katrina devastated the region. Similarly, the Lower East Side Peoples’ FCU has been helping low-income residents of New York City’s Lower East Side since the mid-80s when the last bank in the community closed its doors and would have left the neighborhood without a mainstream financial institution with a 100-block radius. Both of these institutions have been indispensable in maintaining the fabric of their communities, and it’s especially gratifying for the Federation to see their efforts to serve low-income people recognized with this type of award,” he added.
Since 1996, the Federation has also provided ASI FCU and LESPFCU with nearly $2.5 million in below-market loans and grants through its Community Development Investments Program.
The Wachovia NEXT Awards were first introduced in 2007 thanks to the generous support of the Wachovia Foundation and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The first grand prize was won by the Latino Community Credit Union (Durham, NC), a nationally-recognized $60-million-in-assets CDCU serving primarily Latino immigrants across the entire state of North Carolina.
The 10 semifinalists for 2008 are: ASI FCU (Harahan, LA); Community First Fund (Lancaster, PA); Corporation for Supportive Housing (New York, NY); Homewise, Inc. (Santa Fe, NM); IFF (Chicago, IL); Lower East Side People’s FCU (New York, NY); Low Income Investment Fund (San Francisco, CA); Neighborhood Housing Services (Chicago, IL); New Hampshire Community Loan Fund (Concord, NH); and Southern Bancorp (Arkadelphia, AR).
© 2008 National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.