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NEW YORK – On February 24, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, an organization which has served CDCUs exclusively for 30 years, will announce a reorientation of its efforts towards the broader credit union industry. Clifford Rosenthal, the Executive Director of the Federation, reiterated that the organization’s mission will remain to bring financial services to low-income people and communities and to empower them to overcome the neglect of the banking system. But the Federation’s newest effort, the Community Development Partners Program, represents a new approach to meeting those goals, one that will move the Federation away from the somewhat insulated subdivision of CDCUs. The Federation recognized that no matter how much CDCUs grow and how hard they work, millions of people will likely remain out of reach of their services, according to background documents NFCDCU provided to Credit Union Times. The organization also recognized that there are many credit unions which do not have CDCUs’ primary mission of working with low income people, but which have begun to increase their efforts in this area. “We believe that by allying with those credit unions, together we can reach many more communities, many more people in need of credit union services, than we as the Federation and CDCU movement could alone,” the documents said. The Federation will formally launch the new program at a February 24 press conference during the GAC. The Federation explained the new program will try to combine the CDCU mission with the capacity, scope, and commitment of other, usually larger credit unions. It will do this by identifying mainstream credit unions interested in expanding their efforts in working with lower income people, even if that is not central part of their mission, and work with them in a long-term way to reproduce the products, services and success that CDCUs have already had. To this end the Federation has recruited some big credit union names into the nascent program; credit unions such as the $450 million T&C Federal Credit Union, headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; the $20 billion Navy FCU, headquartered in Merrifield, Virginia; the $11 billion State Employees Credit Union, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina and the $5 billion Boeing Credit Union, headquartered in Washington, among others. In the program the Federation envisions itself as a “clearing house” for CDCUs and mainstream credit unions looking for partners, as well as a repository of research and ideas that have worked, or not, in other places. Some of those ideas, for example, will involve mortgages; the Federation has started planning a CDCU Mortgage Center to help facilitate best practices and strategies in helping low income people obtain and hold mortgages. “By establishing partnerships with some of the larger institutions in our movement, we hope to give these small institutions another avenue to survive and thrive,” the Federation added. [email protected]

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