A subsidiary of the $2.7 billion United Nations FCU, the CUSO will provide CDCUs with the tools, expertise and resources they need to deploy sustainable financial solutions to low-income people, said Stephen Ryerson, president of UNFCU FA. Among the planned offerings are insurance services, investment and mortgage-related products and real estate buying and selling assistance.
The federation has been focusing its efforts over the past several years to building bridges between credit unions of all types and sizes, said NFCDCU President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. "Our new partnership seeks to leverage our CDCU members' knowledge of the low-income market with the scale and resources of this larger, more sophisticated financial institution," Rosenthal said. "This collaboration will allow us to further our mission of helping low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions."
UNFCU has a long history serving underserved members and credit unions throughout Africa and Latin America, and in low-income areas in the United States, particularly in New York, said National Federation Director of Membership Services Pablo DeFilippi. Bringing new services to underserved markets is the latest in a series of initiatives between UNFCU, UNFCU FA, and the federation. Last year, UNFCU became the first credit union in the nation to participate directly in the NFCDCU's Community Development Investment Program with a $500,000 investment. Since inception, CDIP has raised more than $46.2 million, which it has invested in low-income credit unions across the United States.
While a majority of the federation's investment capital has come from social investors, foundations, government and banks, it said it has increasingly turned to the credit union movement for support. In addition to its role as a federation investor, UNFCU said it has also been a longtime supporter of the Lower East Side People's FCU and has been working with the federation and other community development partners to open a branch in an underserved community in Queens, N.Y.
According to William Reed, manager of business development, UNFCU FA, "given these challenging financial times, consumers need to receive sound education and trusted advice, now more than ever. The size and financial stability of our organization affords us a unique opportunity for collaboration."