Through the Community Development Certification, Credit Union Will Expand Programs to Serve and Support Underserved San Diego Communities
North Island Credit Union announced that it is the first credit union in San Diego County to receive certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) by the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund. The CDFI certification is available only to organizations that have proven they provide financial services and products in communities that have historically lacked access to traditional banking services.
“We’re excited to earn this certification, which will enable us to expand on our mission to improve lives in our San Diego communities. The opportunities available to us as a CDFI will amplify our programs to invest in San Diego communities that need it most through providing critically needed access to capital and education programs,” said North Island Credit Union President/CEO Steve O’Connell. “We look forward to this next step in serving and supporting our underserved communities by moving more underbanked community members to traditional financial services and providing loan programs to spark new growth and development in our service areas.”
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Certified CDFIs are part of a national network promoting economic growth in America’s underserved communities by financing businesses, creating jobs, and rebuilding neighborhoods. The CDFI certification allows qualified financial institutions to access federal funds to provide financial products and services in low-income communities for local residents and businesses. North Island Credit Union is the first credit union to receive the designation in San Diego County; there are now 36 CDFI certified credit unions in the state, per CDFI Fund data as of May 15, 2023.
With this certification, North Island Credit Union will apply for grant funding later this year to further expand its mission-driven programs for historically underserved San Diego communities that lack access to traditional, affordable financial products and services.
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CDFI certification is the latest step in North Island Credit Union’s mission to meet the needs of underserved populations in its communities. Its Option Checking account was recently certified as meeting the Bank On National Account Standards, offering safe access to a traditional checking account, with zero fees or overdraft charges to support moving members out of a debt cycle. The credit union also has adjusted underwriting guidelines to provide easier access to funds, launched credit card products for members looking to build/restore credit, and offers a full suite of financial education and literacy resources.
In earning the certification, North Island Credit Union worked with CU Strategic Planning, a Tacoma, Washington-based firm that assists institutions with the CDFI application process.
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