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MFCU is a Certified Community Development CU

Authored By: Kristen Williamson on 10/4/2022

Members First Credit Union is proud to be a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). We have put together a short blog series to introduce you to what CDFI organizations are and the impact they have in the growing number of communities they serve across the country. Through the CDFI grant program, Members First has already been able to put funding towards initiatives that benefit our members and their communities. Throughout this blog series, we will dive into what those specific initiatives are but today, we want to share the basics – what is a Community Development Financial Institution and why do they matter?

What is a CDFI?

Throughout history, credit unions and community banks have often oriented their missions around serving people and communities that have historically had limited or no access to financial services.

As this concept of “serving the underserved” proved to be impactful for our country’s most vulnerable populations, the federal government created a Community Development Financial Institution certification. This certification would allow for banks and credit unions to receive grant money from budgeted funding from the United States Treasury in order to expand their ability to serve members and customers within underbanked areas.

While CDFI’s have been around for many years, their importance and relevance grew rapidly in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic impact on local communities.

The CDFI Fund’s Vision and Mission

The vision of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (the CDFI Fund) is an America in which all people and communities have access to the investment capital and financial services they need to prosper.

The CDFI Fund's mission is to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers.

How Does It Work?

Each year, our federal government creates a budget in order to fund all of the country’s governmental agencies, departments, and projects for the next year. When the CDFI fund was established in 1994, it became a part of the federal government’s formal budget process. Therefore, the funding that CDFI’s are able to apply for each year always hinges on how much is allocated by the fund each year.

Our CDFI Certification

Members First became CDFI certified in January 2021. Within the application process, we were tasked with displaying how our credit union’s lending strategy, branch locations, and designation of serving middle and lower income communities aligned with the CDFI fund’s mission.

To Members First, our CDFI certification means more than the possibility of receiving grant funding (even though that is a really big perk!). Our CDFI certification embodies our mission of encouraging a better tomorrow for all of our members and our local communities. As we continue to develop goals around what we will do with our CDFI certification, serving our members and partnering with the most important organizations within our communities remains our upmost priority.

Stay tuned to learn more exciting news about Members First’s CDFI grant funding!

In the meantime, click here to explore more about the CDFI Fund.

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