Credit union trade associations are cheering a late-night deal in Congress that will fund the government through September and provide full funding for the Community Development Financial Institution Fund.

A deal hashed out on Sunday night makes $248 million available to the CDFI Fund as part of the appropriations process. President Trump had previously proposed gutting the CDFI Fund, a move lambasted by a host of credit union supporters, as well as others in the for-profit banking sector. This year's funding is also a 6 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, when $233 million went into the fund.

“We appreciate all the grassroots support we received from CDFI credit unions, and we appreciate Congress funding this to the full level,” said Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association.

The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions also hailed the bill’s progress.

"We thank the leaders in the House and Senate appropriations committees for ensuring that these important resources will continue to be available to credit unions and their communities, and we look forward to working with lawmakers and the administration toward their fruition," NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger said.

Along with CDFI funding, the appropriations bill also includes $2 million for the National Credit Union Administration’s Community Development Revolving Loan Fund. Both trades praised House leaders for including that funding as well.

CDFI: A vested interest
A 2017 look at how various financial services industries are represented by the CDFI Fund.

While the CDFI fund is generally popular on both sides of the aisle, the president included it in his proposed budget as one of many programs that could be cut as a way to streamline the government and save money. Since that proposal was announced, credit union advocates have been rallying behind the fund in order to save it.

The full package of legislation to fund the government (including the CDFI Fund) is expected to be passed later this week.

Cathie Mahon, president and CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, said in a statement that "the record 2017 appropriation is a direct result of the incredible work of credit unions on the ground, the mobilization of the CDFI industry and the strength of CDFI Fund support throughout the credit union movement."

And the Federation isn't planning to stop there. With a $15 million increase already for fiscal year 2017, the Federation is already eyeing a $250 million appropriation for FY 2018. The Senate faces a May 26, 2017 deadline for 2018 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations, and the Federation plans to circulate a CDFI Coalition Senate sign-on letter in the near future.

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