The two CDCUs are the $285 million ASI FCU, headquartered in the New Orleans area and the $20 million Lower East Side People's Federal Credit Union (LESPFCU), headquartered in New York City. The two are competing for prizes in different categories so they are not competing head to head, according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.
Should it win, ASI FCU could receive a $5 million below-market loan plus a $500,000 unrestricted grant. LESPFCU stands to win a $2.5 million in below-market loans plus a $250,000 unrestricted grant., according to the federation.
"It's truly an honor to be selected as a semifinalist for the Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance," said Mignhon Tourn?(C), CEO of ASI FCU.
"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," Tourn?(C) 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, CEO of the 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 in a prepared statement.
Since 1996, the federation reported it has also provided ASI FCU and LESPFCU with nearly $2.5 million in below-market loans and grants through its community development investments program.