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Thursday, October 19, 2006


Group Plans Strategies To Help Low-Income Community Development CUs

Credit union professionals met at the Silicon Valley United Way in San Jose last week to discuss the needs and challenges of low-income community development credit unions.

The meeting, hosted by the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions (NFCDCU), was the second time the group has come together this year. During the all-day roundtable, the group discussed the networking opportunities and resources available to low-income community development credit unions.

The morning session focused on sharing resources, challenges, and information among the group and the afternoon was spent brainstorming action steps to help meet community development credit union challenges. A large emphasis was placed on the need for maximized partnerships between community development credit unions and their neighboring established credit unions.

League President and CEO Bill Cheney; VP of Research, Communications, and Public Affairs Lucy Ito; and Director of Research and Information Rita Fillingane attended the meeting and discussed the resources available through the League, including its Research & Information Consulting Hotline, Shapiro Group listserv and grants, and the new Community Development Credit Union listserv. Fillingane has been named as the League liaison for this group.

“Assistance to small credit unions including low-income credit unions has been identified as a priority area by the Assembly Delegates of the California Credit Union League,” said Cheney. “The League looks forward to working with the network and NFCDCU to build alliances and partnerships with other credit unions and system affiliates.”

NFCDCU Executive Director Cliff Rosenthal and NFCDCU Associate Director of Member Services Pablo DeFilippi also shared the resources available from NFCDCU, including grants and training classes. Two NFCDCU board members were in attendance as well: Episcopal Community FCU Board Member Marv Jensen, and Community Trust CU Community Development Director Sandell McLaughlin, who was instrumental in arranging the day’s meeting. Also in attendance was John Liotti, CEO of Northern California Urban Development Corporation and organizer of the proposed East Palo Alto Community FCU, which recently received preliminary field of membership approval from the NCUA.

In addition, Orange County Teachers FCU (OCTFCU) Division Assistant Gianfranco Piccollo gave an update on the credit union’s plan and progress to get Comunidad Latina FCU up and running. Comunidad Latina FCU just recently received its charter from the NCUA and expects to open its doors to serve the community of Santa Ana by year end. OCTFCU, along with several other area credit unions, provided the resources and funding to help bring the community development credit union to that underserved community.

Following an afternoon brainstorming session, attendees formed working groups to devise strategies aimed to help meet the challenges outlined earlier in the day. They focused on:

Education for the credit union community about the needs and challenges of community development credit unions.
Funding sources, including grants and specialized investment products.
Partnerships with other credit unions, NFCDCU, the League, and other worthy organizations.
Political benefits of working with community leaders and other non-profit organizations to develop policy statements and policy agendas.

The group plans to meet again after the first of the year.

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