ALBANY, N.Y. - After more than a decade the New York State Legislature is on the verge of approving a state fund for community development financial institutions, according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Ironically, however, neither bill in the two houses of the state assembly includes financing for the fund, but just enables the establishment of the New York CDFI Fund. According to Federation consultant Cathie Mahon, the new fund "would provide financing for the full range of activities that a CDFI engages in. Lending for affordable housing and to fight predatory lending are crucial, high-profile needs in New York State, and we hope that the new CDFI Fund will make it possible to address these areas, as well." Up until this point, the Federation had been working within the strict confines of minority and female-owned businesses to obtain $1 million from the federal CDFI Fund. "It's a much needed area," Federation Executive Director Cliff Rosenthal said, "but it has not met the critical need of building institutional capacity and capital of community development credit unions (CDCUs) and other CDFIs." The state legislation must still be reconciled between the state Assembly and the Senate and be signed by the governor.
The New York State CDFI Coalition, founded and staffed by the Federation, has a Steering Committee that includes CDCUs (Alternatives FCU, Ithaca; Lower East Side People's FCU, New York) and other CDFIs, including the Leviticus Fund (Yonkers); Rural Opportunities, Inc. (Rochester); the Capital District Community Loan Fund (Albany); and the Community Capital Bank (Brooklyn).