Credit unions in Missouri now have additional resources to positively impact their communities. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund awarded 10 Missouri credit unions $4.79 million in grant funding. The grants are restricted to certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), which operate in niche markets that are underserved by traditional financial institutions. It’s estimated that 100 of the state’s 134 credit unions meet the U.S. Treasury’s eligibility requirements.
The 10 awarded credit unions provide a unique range of financial products and services in economically distressed target markets, such as mortgage financing for low-income and first-time homebuyers and not-for-profit developers, flexible underwriting and risk capital for needed community facilities, and technical assistance, commercial loans and investments to small start-up or expanding businesses in low-income areas.
The Missouri Credit Union Charitable Foundation (MCUCF) funded the CDFI certification and grant-writing process for a select group of credit unions as part of the initiative, Community Development Across Missouri.
"We are very excited about the additional community outreach and training opportunities the funding allows us to do in reaching low-income, underserved, unbanked and financially stressed individuals and families in our field of membership," says Stan Moeckli, Electro Savings Credit Union president. "We are grateful to MCUCF for the financial assistance and support provided to receive our CDFI certification and subsequent grant. We plan to 'pay-it-forward' by increasing our current MCUCF donation in an amount above the financial assistance we received so MCUCF can continue to help more Missouri credit unions grow."
The grant money can be used for a variety of community and business outreach efforts including stimulating economic development in low-income areas, increasing lending in underserved markets, providing free financial education for under-banked consumers and more.
"Joplin Metro is very excited for this opportunity because we are planning to bring an experienced first-mortgage loan originator into our credit union," says Cindy Atteberry, Joplin Metro president/CEO. "Offering first-mortgage loans in-house will be a big boost for Joplin Metro as well as the community. The rebuild since the Joplin tornado is still booming, and we are very excited to be able to be a part of it."
The following Missouri credit unions received CDFI grants:
*Community Development Across Missouri participants