SYRACUSE, N.Y. (12/18/08)--Syracuse, N.Y.-based Cooperative FCU (Cooperative Federal) was awarded a 2008 Wachovia NEXT Award, according to the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions. Cooperative Federal was one of six award recipients. The awards were presented at the 2008 Opportunity Finance Network Conference in Albuquerque, N.M. The award also includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant. “I commend Cooperative Federal for winning this award in a very spirited competition against many high-performing community development financial institutions,” said Federation President/CEO Cliff Rosenthal. “This award highlights the vital role community development credit unions play in bringing affordable financial services to low- and moderate-income people across America.” Cooperative Federal won the award for its city-wide programs to counter predatory lending. Since 1982, the credit union has invested $70 million in city neighborhoods to promote homeownership, small business growth and financial strength. The credit union also made more than 100 payday alternative loans, lent more than $2 million in alternative-to-predatory mortgages and provided housing and credit counseling to more than 300 low-income individuals. “We share the mission of the nationwide community development financial institutions movement--to do the seemingly impossible work of strengthening neighborhoods and empowering under-resourced people,” said Ron Ehrenreich, treasurer/CEO and cofounder of Cooperative Federal. Cooperative Federal has $14 million in assets.