Twenty community development credit unions have received grants in the latest funding from the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
Along with a grant to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the CDFI fund announced awards worth $12.7 million to CDCUs.
CDFI fund officials made the funding announcement at El Maguey y La Tuna, a restaurant in New York City's Lower East Side that had been funded in part by one of the CDCUs that received funds.
Linda Levy, CEO of the Lower East Side Peoples FCU that funded the restaurant, said her CU received an award for $750,000 and she 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."
Joy Cousminer, CEO of the Bethex Federal Credit Union, put the funding in almost scriptural terms.
"Our credit union is exactly 40 years old," said Cousminer, "and 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 this as our 40 years in poverty, and we have finally reached the border of the Promised Land thanks to the CDFI Fund."