There have been "great improvements" for credit unions taking advantage of the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI
) Fund, says Director Donna Gambrell, addressing the 2013 Annual Conference of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.
Fifteen credit unions received $13.7 million in financial assistance and $678,000 in technical assistance from the fund in 2012.
Plus, the fund is seen as a valuable tool by the Obama Administration, which called for a $3 million budget increase to $224.9 million, Gambrell reports. While that budget still needs approval, it is a positive development.
“That is unheard of in these times,” Gambrell says. “Some of my colleagues have called me, asking ‘how did you get a budget increase in this environment?’ I think a lot of it has to do with our ability to tell a good story, not only about the work you all are doing but about the impact that it is having on communities.”
The CDFI Fund allows credit unions in underserved communities to lend more money to those in need, Gambrell says. She points to recent research revealing that for every dollar awarded from the fund, credit unions lend an additional 45 cents after the first year, $1.10 after two years, and $1.60 after three years.
Since its creation, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $1.7 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions.