Washington, DC – February 19, 2013 – Today, the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) 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 CLUSA is the certifying body for the program.
“Working people have been having a difficult time in this economy,” said NCBA CLUSA 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 CLUSA 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 CLUSA’s community development efforts. “This tool is a great piece to help us get where we want to go domestically,” he said. “NCBA CLUSA 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 CLUSA 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 CLUSA 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 CLUSA’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.
Headquartered in Tacoma, WA, with satellite offices in San Diego, CA and Boston, MA, 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.