NCUF Grant to Federation Helps 100 CDCU Leaders

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A $35,000 Innovation Grant from the National Credit Union Foundation to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions will enable at least 100 CDCU board members and management staff to attend CDCU Institute™ training workshops this year.
Click to visit the CDCU Institute online.

Designed in 1999 by the Federation in partnership with the Credit Union National Association's Center for Professional Development, the annual Institute provides a customized forum where CDCUs “acquire professional skills needed to increase membership, expand products and services, and strengthen net worth.”
CDCU leaders find creative ways to build teamwork and solve problems."The Institute gives CDCUs the tools they need to respond to a fast-changing market,” observed Pamela Owens, the Federation’s education and training director. “By learning to manage institutional growth and help members build assets, CDCUs increase their community development impact.”

“So many credit unions are closing because they don’t know how to adapt to the changing economic environment,” lamented Maria Estrella of Bethex Federal Credit Union in the Bronx, N.Y. “The Institute keeps us informed so that we can be successful and help our members.”

Expanding Training Courses

NCUF has approved a total of $370,000 in grants for the CDCU Institute™ during the past four years.

These grants have helped the Institute evolve to meet the growing needs of CDCUs by:
  • Offering both a traditional week-long Institute in Madison, Wis., as well as short courses on affordable mortgage lending, which have been held in Chicago and Durham, N.C.;
  • Expanding the curriculum to include intensive short-course modules on succession planning, affordable mortgage lending, and the Credit Path.
The new Innovation Grant from NCUF will help the Federation continue to expand the Institute. For example, Owens said, “As the Federation assumes responsibility for the HUD Homeownership Counseling Program, we are planning to incorporate a housing counseling module into the Institute curriculum. We also plan to develop short courses to help large credit unions that have recently expanded their fields of membership into low-income communities to turn these potential members into active members.”

Also planned for 2009 is a new module on Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). Both NCUF and the Federation manage federal IDA grants for credit unions through the Assets for Independence (AFI) program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Growing Small Credit Unions

CDCU Institute Graduating Class of 2007From 1999 through 2007, the CDCU Institute™ provided advanced management training to 227 board members and management staff from 143 organizations.

“The Institute is particularly helpful for smaller credit unions,” Owens reminded. “A recent evaluation showed that the Institute helps smaller credit unions to increase their membership, lending and net worth faster than their peers.”

Yet “despite powerful evidence that the Institute can help small credit unions survive and thrive,” Owens acknowledged “the cost of attending the Institute is beyond the means of many CDCUs – particularly those serving severely distressed communities.”

The new Innovation Grant will also help offset the costs of small credit unions’ scholarships and travel.

Ninth of 14 NCUF Innovation Grants

This is the ninth of 14 Innovation Grants to be approved by NCUF in 2008. Innovation Grants are made possible by investors in the Community Investment Fund (CIF).
Click to see how to invest in the CIF!During the 2008 Innovation Grants application cycle, NCUF received 41 applications requesting over $2.2 million in funding. This was nearly four times the $600,000 budgeted for Innovation Grants through the CIF.

“Grant requests were much higher this year because the needs are much greater,” relates NCUF Deputy Director Steve Bosack, the Foundation’s staff liaison to the NCUF Grants Committee. “More credit unions are seeking innovative ways to serve people with low wealth and modest means.”

“More credit unions than ever are investing in the Community Investment Fund,” points out NCUF Executive Director Steve Delfin. “Yet here’s the paradox: even though CIF balances reached an all-time high, the fund has returned a much lower percentage of grant dollars in 2008. This is due to federal interest rate cuts from January through October. So especially during these challenging economic times, we thank all 650-plus CIF investors, the NCUF Board and Grants Committee for allowing us to maintain our $600,000 in Innovation Grant commitments and reward credit unions serving low-wealth households.”
Click here to see how to invest in the CIF!