CDFI Program Award Recipients Announced

Award recipients Harborstone CU and Lewis Clark CU share how they will use the funding to strengthen economically disadvantaged communities in the Northwest.

9/26/17

This year, two Northwest credit unions will leverage Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Program awards to uplift their communities by increasing access to affordable financial products and services. The U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Program is designed to build the capacity of these financial institutions, enabling them to grow lending and investment activity in low-income and economically distressed areas nationwide.

The Treasury recently announced the 2017 awards, which will provide funding to 265 organizations, including 55 credit unions.

“This is the largest pool of awardees in the history of the CDFI Fund,” said CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan of this year’s recipients. “These award recipients represent a diverse array of organization types and community investment strategies, serving a broad spectrum of communities.”

The Northwest credit unions that received this award were Harborstone Credit Union in Lakewood, WA, and Lewis Clark Credit Union in Lewiston, ID.

Harborstone is committed to its mission of “building stronger communities, helping underserved consumers meet their needs and achieve their dreams while improving the quality of life in the neighborhoods and communities where the credit union’s members live and work.”

The funding will help the credit union expand its collaboration with Sound Outreach, a Tacoma nonprofit. Specifically, the grant will be used to provide a variety of new products designed in conjunction with Sound Outreach to meet the needs of Pierce County’s low-income consumers, and increase the volume of Harborstone’s current consumer lending products.

The award also will allow the credit union to employ two staff members at Sound Outreach’s linked social service agency site. These dedicated loan officers will deploy Harborstone’s existing products and its new Sound Outreach financial products, which are designed to meet the needs of low-income consumers. These products include credit builder loans, subprime auto loans, and payday lending alternatives.

“Our team is honored to have been chosen to receive this grant, which will have a tremendous impact through our partnership with Sound Outreach and help further the mission we’ve undertaken to develop and deliver financial empowerment products and services to our underserved communities,” said Phil Jones, President/CEO of Harborstone Credit Union.

Trisha Baker, President/CEO of Lewis Clark Credit Union, shared that the credit union will use the financial assistance award in two ways: to provide members with additional or new products and services, and to increase the volume of current products and services. “Lewis Clark Credit Union will deploy a new and affordable operating line of credit small-business loan for small family farmers. We will also expand our used auto lending programs.”

Baker also offers insight to credit unions pursuing a CDFI grant. “We applied for a grant last year and were not successful in getting selected. I would say persistence is the key. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity this affords LCCU and our membership.”

The full list of CDFI Program awardees is available here.