Louisiana Credit Union League Set To Foster Statewide Community Development Through CDFI Training

NEW ORLEANS – Looking for innovative ways to better serve low-income residents of Louisiana with financial services, the Louisiana Credit Union League (LCUL) has established a partnership with CU Strategic Planning, an award-winning community development financial institutions (CDFIs) grant writing firm.

         CU Strategic Planning will assist Louisiana credit unions in becoming certified CDFIs, so they are better positioned to serve the state’s low-income residents and help uplift their communities by improving people’s financial lives and overall wellbeing.

         The two organizations are partnering together to foster the purpose of Community Development Across Louisiana (CDAL). CDAL focuses on providing services to the state of Louisiana’s residents who need them most, as well as increasing loan growth to make credit unions more financially successful and healthy. The project follows CU Strategic Planning’s work with the League of Southeastern Credit Unions serving Florida and Alabama and past, and past record-breaking efforts to certify credit unions in Missouri.

         To achieve these goals, CDAL will train Louisiana credit unions on how to better serve low-income markets and price products for riskier markets. CU Strategic Planning will develop statewide partnerships designed to drive loan growth and distinguish credit unions as not-for-profit cooperatives and the primary financial resource for the underserved.

         Two CDFI-certified credit unions in Louisiana, Pelican State Credit Union and Shreveport Federal Credit Union, have already implemented CU Strategic Planning’s “HERO Community Development Certified Financial Counseling” training and achieved great success. These winning programs have turned around many members’ lives, sparking tremendous growth within their communities.

         “This [CDFI] certification and training program has helped us build a reputation with our members as the place to go for honesty,” Pelican State Credit Union CEO/ President Jeffrey Conrad said. “This certification training allows communication to occur and reinforces the fact that ‘bad things happen to good people’ and no one person is alone with their financial troubles. We take pride in being the financial institution that is there to help members but more importantly all people.”

         Statistics regarding the financial status of the Louisiana population show that Louisiana has one of the highest poverty rates in America and is ranked 48 out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia). And, approximately 19 percent of residents in Louisiana live below the national poverty level, meaning that a four-person family with two children under 18 years of age earns less than $24,091.

         “Working together, the credit unions of Louisiana are poised to increase the financial acumen of its residents, expand access to financial resources, and improve the living conditions of the people of the great state of Louisiana,” LCUL President/ CEO and first female Chair of World Council of Credit Unions Anne Cochran said. “We believe our partnership with CU Strategic Planning will expedite this goal for our state, as we already have two winning examples at Pelican State Credit Union and Shreveport Federal Credit Union. It is our vision to see all Louisiana credit unions adopt these practices for a brighter future for our state’s financially underserved.”

         It’s been proven repeatedly that people who are financially stable live longer, healthier lives. That is essentially what it comes down to,” adds CU Strategic Planning President/ CEO Stacy Augustine. “Our aligned partnership with LCUL will allow us to have a meaningful impact on the hard-working everyday American consumers of Louisiana, improving lives, creating jobs and enhancing communities. It is incredibly rewarding to see Louisiana’s credit unions leading the way.”

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