Building Sustainable Financial Co-operatives


Community Development Credit Unions (CDCUs) are a section of the credit union movement that puts co-operative principles and structures at the service of African-Americans, immigrants, and other disenfranchised populations in the U.S.A.

These groups have shaped a system that builds household savings into a capital pool that can be recycled locally and affordably, according to residents' priorities for credit and investment. The system also enables communities to integrate their resources and intentions with other, like-minded groups and movements. This role was accentuated by the formation of the National Federation of CDCUs in 1974. It was instrumental in the establishment of the federal Community Development Financial Institutions Fund in 1995, which has led to a dramatic rise in CDCU numbers and assets.

Those numbers and assets are now under threat. Consolidations and mergers are steadily reducing the number of credit unions. Some large credit unions are converting into profit-making banks. Increases in regulatory responsibilities and in predatory lending are making it very difficult for small CDCUs to do business. The volunteers on whom credit unions rely for leadership are retiring. In addition, CDCUs have had to deal with an unsupportive Republican administration for years.

Community Development Credit Unions in the United States
Rosenthal, Clifford
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