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L-R: Barbara Bean, CEO of Cal Poly FCU; Eric Bruen, CEO of Desert Valleys FCU; and Pete Meza, CEO of Corrections FCU

CALIFORNIA CUs RECEIVE 'LICU' GRANTS
updated 03/19/14 03:59 PM
Part of National Recipient Group
Three low income-designated credit unions in California—and 124 others nationwide—will be able to offer new products, train the next generation of credit union leadership, and gain access to more resources to help their communities with grants awarded last week from the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

In this round, credit unions received approximately $517,000 through the first Community Development Revolving Loan Fund grant round in 2014, with NCUA’s Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives (OSCUI) administering the funds.

Cal Poly FCU, Desert Valleys FCU, and Corrections FCU collectively received $10,500.

Cal Poly FCU
“There’s never a lack of projects we need help on,” said Cal Poly FCU CEO Barbara Bean, whose credit union received $4,000 to put toward a summer internship. The credit union will most likely hire at least one Cal Poly Pomona student. “We have a number of opportunities, whether it’s providing financial literacy to incoming students, helping us develop a home banking app, creating a new member rewards program, or assisting with our social media expansion,” she said.

Bean is grateful for the grant funds, which are “extremely limited,” she said. Cal Poly FCU continually applies for several grants but is oftentimes turned down. Demand is high among credit unions. “We get expertise that we could not otherwise afford, and interns receive money for working during the summer,” Bean said. “Our members will be served with new products and services they want—so it’s a win for everyone involved.”

Desert Valleys FCU
Desert Valleys FCU received a $2,500 technical assistance grant—money that’s going toward hiring a consultation company to assist the credit union in securing a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification from the U.S. Treasury Department. “CDFI programs provide substantial grant opportunities to introduce small business lending programs and Individual Development Accounts (IDA), both of which we see as opportunities for our credit union,” said CEO Eric Bruen.

He said grants such as these are important. “They provide a way for small credit unions to explore new avenues and opportunities to serve their existing members, and potentially new members,” Bruen said. “The real key to all of these programs is strategic planning and understanding how they enhance your mission or help your credit union grow, either in membership or services.”

If the credit union received CDFI certification, it will be in a unique position. “We’ll be the only CDFI-certified institution within several hundred miles of the communities we serve,” Bruen said. “This gives us a chance to offer something different and that’s a powerful competitive edge in today’s market.”

Corrections FCU
Corrections FCU received $4,000 to hire a student accounting intern—an important position at this stage of the credit union’s operations. “We’re looking at implementing a new core data processor and a fixed-asset software program,” said CEO Pete Meza. “Whoever is hired for the internship will be completing due diligence for this.”

The credit union will be holding interviews with students from four local colleges. At $10 per hour, Corrections FCU will benefit from 400 hours of internship work. “The grant is going to help us out a lot,” Meza said. “We’re very grateful.”

Since 2001, NCUA has received more than $12.8 million in grant funding for credit unions serving low-income communities. The revolving grant and loan fund was established by Congress. In this current round, 320 credit unions submitted grant applications to NCUA, with more than $2.3 million in funding requests. Click here for more information.

                           
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