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WASHINGTON – The effort to defend the CDFI Fund from elimination appears to have gained an important ally in the form of CUNA, as the association has formally begun to lobby the Congress against the Administration’s proposal for the Fund which has helped fund community development credit unions. The help came in a short letter written to Representative Jim Nussle (R-Iowa), Chairman of the House Budget Committee asking the Chairman to both keep the CDFI Fund in the Treasury Department and to fund it at $80 million. The Bush Administration’s budget proposal would eliminate the CDFI Fund in favor of a system of economic development block grants administered by the Commerce Department. Community development credit unions and other CDFIs have responded very negatively to the President’s proposed changes and cuts. “The Administration’s proposal.would have a severe negative impact on the future ability for CDFIs and Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) to promote economic revitalization and community development in distressed communities,” CUNA wrote in the February 24 letter. “The CDFI Fund uses small amounts of federal dollars to leverage significant amounts of private and non-federal dollars, and has added a tremendous boost to the CDFI industry. CDFIs and CDCUs are charged with supplying low-income, distressed communities with traditional banking services such as savings accounts and personal loans, and offering individuals the tools needed to become self-sufficient stakeholders in their own future.”

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