The $14 million Community Plus Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Rantoul, Ill., has used the money it received under the Community Development Capital Initiative program to increase its auto lending.
The Treasury Department's CDCI program used money from the controversial Troubled Asset Relief Program to provide capital loans to financial institutions, including credit unions, that had been recognized as community development financial institutions.
Since Community Plus had not yet applied for CDFI certification when the CDCI program was announced, the small credit unions faced a significant challenge to both become certified as a CDFI and apply for the CDCI funds.
The CDCI program lent Community Plus $450,000 for use as secondary capital for seven years at a 2% interest rate with a one-time payback, the CU said.
The credit union's management determined that making transportation available, by making auto loans, would be the primary use of the loan funds.
"Providing affordable auto loans serves several purposes," explained Community Plus president John Daugherty, "not the least of which is that these individuals and families will have a means to get to and from jobs. Without transportation, it is even more difficult to find and keep a job, " he added.