(August 19, 2010 – New York, NY) Low- and moderate-income communities across the nation will soon receive a boost to their local economies thanks to awards made today to 180 community development financial institutions (CDFIs) by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. The announcement was made at El Maguey y La Tuna, a restaurant in New York City’s Lower East Side which was financed by local CDFI, the Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union, the largest community development credit union (CDCU) in New York City. On-hand to announce the CDFI Fund’s FY 2010 nationwide round of awards, totaling $104.9 million, were United States Treasurer Rosie Rios, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, Congressman José Serrano, and CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell.
Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal accepting the Federation's $750,000 CDFI Fund award from Congressman José Serrano and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez (on left), and CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell (on right).
Among the awards announced today, 21 awards totalling more than $12.7 million were made to CDCUs and the Federation itself, and all but three of the CDCU awardees are members of the Federation. A breakdown of the CDCU awards in this round is available at bottom.
Linda Levy, CEO of the Lower East Side Peoples FCU, which received an award for $750,000, spoke about the impact that the CDFI Fund award will make to the credit union’s members. “The most important thing about this grant is that we will be able to use it to make more funds available to businesses all over the 5 boroughs of New York,” Levy said. “We have almost tripled our small business lending this year, and a good part of that is due to the fact that the banks have stopped lending. I think we all know this and we’re all very sorry about this, and we have been trying very hard to step into the fray, but it’s been hard because we don’t have a lot of capital, so this is really going to help us help the community.”
Congressman José Serrano, handing Bethex FCU President & CEO Joy Cousminer with a $750,000 award from the CDFI Fund.
Also receiving a $750,000 award this round was Bethex FCU (Bronx, NY). During her acceptance of the award, Joy Cousminer, President & CEO of the CDCU, explained that while some of the funds would be used to expand lending to the 60-plus small businesses they serve, the bulk of the funds will be used to renovate the CDCU's main branch, providing their membership with a new teller area with three windows instead of two, and new bullet proof glass that will allow the members to speak without having to bend down and speak through the cash opening.
In her closing remarks, Cousminer likened the CDCU's journey to the struggle of Jews in biblical times. “Our credit union is exactly 40 years old this year,” said Cousminer, “which brings to mind when the Jews left Egypt... they had to wonder the desert for 40 years before they were allowed into the Promised Land. We are looking at these first 40 years as our 40 years in poverty, but we have finally reached the border of the Promised Land thanks to the CDFI Fund.”
Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal, who accepted the Federation’s award for $750,000, offered praise for the CDFI Fund. “The CDFI Fund is an absolutely unique source of innovative funding, which has enabled us, as a national entity, to support hundreds of low-income credit unions across the United States,” he said. “We’ve been doing this to help them build their capital during these very difficult times and to allow them to recycle their capital for additional lending… We are very grateful for this indispensable and irreplaceable federal agency.”
“The Federation has fought long and hard to ensure that CDCUs continue to receive their fair share of CDFI awards,” explained Rosenthal. “Today we’ve seen a much more equitable distribution with some of the largest number of awards to CDCUs in recent years, including various credit unions new to the Fund,” he said. “These awards will bring major impact to the communities served by CDCUs and CDFIs generally.”
FY2010 CDFI Funding Round, CDCU Results
Communicating Arts CU
Genesee Co-op FCU
Greater Kinston CU
Hope Community CU
Kerr County FCU
Latino Community CU
Lower East Side Peoples FCU
National Federation of CDCUs
Santa Cruz Community CU
Total to Federation & Member CDCUs (18)
% of Total Awards to Federation & Member CDCUs
Kenworth Employees CU
Military and Civilian FCU
St. Louis Community CU
Total Non-member CDCUs (3)
Total to Federation, Member & Non-Member CDCUs (21)
% of Total Awards Federation, Member & Non-Member CDCUs