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CUNA Mutual Foundation commits $1 million investment in credit unions led by, serving communities of color

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Financial organization Inclusiv and Madison-based CUNA Mutual Group Foundation today announced the Foundation has committed to invest $1 million to build equity in credit unions led by and/or serving people of color through Inclusiv’s Racial Equity and Resilience Investment Fund (“the Fund”). The Foundation investment will facilitate secondary capital investments in minority designated and community development finanacial institution (CDFI) credit unions over the next decade.

This marks an important next chapter in the longtime collaboration between CUNA Mutual Group and Inclusiv, according to a joint press release.

Cedric Ellis. Photo supplied.

“Over the past two decades, CUNA Mutual Group has consistently supported the mission of Inclusiv promoting financial inclusion in underserved communities through credit unions,” Cedric Ellis, Executive Vice President & Chief Enterprise Services Officer of CUNA Mutual Group and Chair of the Foundation Board, said in a statement. “With this investment, we will be aligning the investment strategy of the Foundation with the DEI goals of the company and build on the legacy of credit unions led by leaders of color.”

The long-time relationship between CUNA Mutual Group and Inclusiv deepened during the pandemic as the company forged a strategic partnership with Inclusiv providing targeted training, technical assistance, data analytics support to help credit unions orient their work and services toward low-income and communities of color, according to the release. In the past two years, this collaboration has driven the number of certified CDFI credit unions to an all-time high of 476 institutions with a primary mission and predominant business activity targeting low-income and distressed areas. This has unleashed millions of dollars of credit union lending to people and communities previously excluded from the financial mainstream, according to the releaes.

The Racial Equity Investment Fund, launched in 2020, deploys secondary capital to expand economic relief and to remove barriers to services for credit unions that are led by and/or serve communities of color. Secondary capital builds institutional net worth, enabling credit unions to leverage deposits and to increase lending to minority-owned businesses, homeowners, and consumers. Credit unions can expand their impact in providing access to capital and new financial opportunities to people who are traditionally underserved and underbanked.

“This investment from CMG Foundation is groundbreaking. Together we are growing the necessary capital to help credit unions address systemic inequity in financial service to low-income and communities of color,” Inclusiv President and CEO Cathie Mahon said in a statement. “Secondary capital represents a huge opportunity for credit unions and their members in the years ahead. We believe this commitment from CMG Foundation will pave the way for more industry secondary capital investments enabling minority designated and CDFI credit unions to grow members, lend more deeply in their communities and grow the net worth for their institutions and the members and communities they serve.”

Inclusiv is based in New York City and has an office in Madison.