Inclusiv, Association formalize and strengthen partnership

Inclusiv and the New York Credit Union Association have formalized a new partnership to increase awareness among New York credit unions about CDFI certification and MDI designation, and provide resources to credit unions that are prepared to earn the certifications.

The two advocacy organizations have agreed to work closely together to raise awareness about the benefits of credit unions becoming certified CDFIs and MDIs, while providing important resources to New York credit unions that are interested in obtaining their CDFI certification or MDI designation.

Through this new partnership, Inclusiv will become the official financial inclusion and community development support center of the Association. In that capacity, the two organizations will work together to provide training, guidance and assistance to New York credit unions in an effort to increase participation in CDFI, MDI and low-income programs. Association-member credit unions will also be eligible for discounted membership with Inclusiv.

Inclusiv is a CDFI intermediary and national network of nearly 400 community development credit unions dedicated to helping low- and moderate-income people and communities achieve financial independence through credit unions. Inclusiv specializes in supporting credit unions committed to financial inclusion and addressing racial equity. The Inclusiv network is comprised of CDFI certified, MDI designated and Low-Income Designated credit unions, with combined assets of $184 billion and serving near 14 million predominantly low-income as well as minority consumers.

The Association, whose membership includes 17 CDFI, 42 MDI and 150 low-income designated credit unions, is a longtime associate member of Inclusiv, and the two organizations have worked closely together for years on a variety of initiatives, including legislative advocacy; education; and Inclusiv’s Hispanic outreach program, Juntos Avanzamos. Additionally, a number of Puerto Rican cooperativas are members of both Inclusiv and the Association.

The relationship between the two organizations became more formalized after Congress passed its economic stimulus bill in December 2020, which included a set-aside of $12 billion for CDFIs. Both Inclusiv and the Association strongly supported the appropriations measure and advocated for its passage.

“We are thrilled to expand our long-standing collaboration with the NYCUA,” said Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of Inclusiv. “We’ll now be able to provide specialized resources and expertise to credit unions throughout New York State, many of which already serve vulnerable communities and could expand their capacity by accessing external resources. We look forward to working more closely with Bill Mellin and his team to expand the reach and impact of our movement to empower communities across the state.”

William J. Mellin, president/CEO of the Association, said: “The New York Credit Union Association and Inclusiv have worked closely together for years, and formalizing this partnership now makes sense not just for our respective organizations, but for the New York credit union community as a whole. With the COVID-19 pandemic having a disproportional impact on the individuals, families and communities already marginalized and struggling, the need for fair and equitable access to the financial system could not be more urgent. Credit unions offer consumers a path to financial stability and freedom, and we are excited to partner with Inclusiv to bring the benefits of credit unions to more New Yorkers while expanding the CDFI network in the state.”

Bill Carhart, CEO of Oswego County FCU in Oswego, New York, said: “Becoming a CDFI in late 2019 is one of the best choices that we have made as an organization. We are the only Oswego County-based CDFI and we have been able to grant an average of 83% of all loans to our CDFI target markets and 70% of all loan dollars to our target markets over the past two years. That translates into nearly $35 million for our members residing in either low-income areas or investment areas of Oswego County. Those numbers make a difference to thousands of members. Inclusiv has played an instrumental part in our education and helping us navigate the grant opportunities that exist in the low-income credit union and CDFI worlds. Their dedicated staff has helped lead us down a path that will benefit our members for years to come and will lead to direct success for our organization.”

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