Washington, DC – February 19, 2013 – Today, the National Cooperative Business Association announced a community development initiative that launches with a program to certify credit union staff as financial counselors, ready to protect their most vulnerable members from predatory lenders. The Community Development Certified Financial Counseling (CDCFC) program trains credit union staff to identify financial distress and work directly with members to prevent financial catastrophe. CU Strategic Planning created the CDCFC training, and NCBA is the certifying body for the program.
“Working people have been having a difficult time in this economy,” said NCBA President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Beall. “All cooperatives—especially credit unions—have a role to play in improving the lives of their members. Having a concern for the community is one of the core principles of cooperatives. Credit union staff members that participate in the CDCFC program will understand how best to support working people that are finding it hard to make ends meet. Without this type of support from the credit union, these people can fall victim to predatory lenders.”
The national member association representing cooperatives in the United States, NCBA provides to its members a variety of tools and resources to assist in strengthening and developing cooperatives. The community development initiative complements existing programs by providing practical tools, training, and capacity building that aid cooperatives in becoming more capable of participating and succeeding in community development work.
Beall considers the CDCFC program a key component of NCBA’s community development efforts. “This tool is a great piece to help us get where we want to go domestically,” he said. “NCBA is working with cooperatives on developing community based, sustainable wealth-building strategies and increasing collaboration among cooperatives. The CDCFC program can involve credit unions in building community wealth and enable them to promote their financial products to complement established community-building efforts.”
“Having the NCBA as a certifying agent for our CDCFC online training program is a boon for low-income communities nationwide to have the tools to build a solid foundation of financial stability – and ultimately wealth,” says CU Strategic Planning Founder and Instigator of Goodness Jamie Chase. “We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship with NCBA to help each other assisting consumers gain a solid financial footing for their futures that ultimately transfers to more flourishing communities.”
One credit union has recognized the value of the CDFC program as a way to assist members. Pelican State Credit Union ($200 million: 33,530 members; Baton Rouge, LA) CEO Jeff Conrad noticed that over the last five years the credit scores of Pelican’s members had dropped, sometimes leaving them ineligible for loans for which they formerly qualified. Conrad certified all of his staff through the CDFC program so that every staff member is empowered to help its members build wealth and improve their financial state.
During an event to launch NCBA’s community development initiative on Feb. 26, 2013, Beall will recognize Pelican State Credit Union as the nation’s first financial institution to certify its entire staff through the CDCFC training program.
Founded in 1916, NCBA's mission is to develop, advance and protect cooperative businesses and to demonstrate the power of the cooperative business model to achieve economic and social impacts. As the apex organization representing the interests of the US cooperative community, NCBA’s portfolio includes programs and services that meet the shared advocacy, education and communications needs of a cross-sector US cooperative community that includes agriculture, child and home care, energy and telecommunications, insurance and financial services, food distribution, healthcare, housing, and wholesale and retail purchasing and distribution. In addition to its work domestically, NCBA’s CLUSA International program has been engaged in cooperative and sustainable business development in over 100 countries for close to 60 years. The current CLUSA portfolio includes over 20 development projects in 15 countries.
Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, with satellite offices in San Diego and Boston, CU Strategic Planning is the only strategic planning facilitator in the United States with the mission to help credit unions realize their potential through the International Credit Union Operating Principles. It is widely considered the #1 writer of credit union Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) grant applications. No firm serving credit unions writes and wins more CDFI awards than CU Strategic Planning. Its “Miracle Makers” have 100 percent success with CDFI certification.