The U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund has certifiedthe $5.8 billion Suncoast Credit Union as a CDFI.

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This means the largest recognized CDFI in the country is now acredit union.

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The Tampa, Fla.-based institution has the certification forthree years and is now eligible to apply for grants and fundingthrough the CDFI fund to support its community developmentwork.

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“As a not-for-profit cooperative, we believe in improving thelives of our members and the communities in which we serve. Thiscertification verifies our ability to attend to the needs ofunderserved markets and will support our efforts to develop newfinancial programs moving forward,” Tom Dorety, president/CEO ofSuncoast Credit Union said.

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The certification allows Suncoast Credit Union to accessfinancial grants from the CDFI Fund, participate in partnershipopportunities with banks seeking Bank Enterprise Awards, access NewMarket Tax Credits and gain the enhanced ability to raise fundsfrom foundations, corporations and state and local governments, thecredit union said.

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Suncoast Credit Union worked with the National Federation ofCommunity Development Credit Unions' consulting group, CUBreakthrough, to attain the CDFI certification.

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“CDFI certification is a valuable credential that helps creditunions increase their capacity to meet the needs of low-incomeconsumers and to develop strategic partnerships to better connectwith the community,” Pablo DeFilippi, VP of Membership and BusinessDevelopment at the Federation said. “Low income designationcombined with CDFI certification are the building blocks forsustainable growth in communities in Southwest Florida.

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In March 2014, Suncoast Credit Union received a low-incomedesignation from the National Credit Union Administration.Subsequently, Suncoast Credit Union joined the National Federationof Community Development Credit Unions and applied to the U.S.Department of Treasury for CDFI certification.

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