WASHINGTON (3/19/09)--Credit unions will benefit from a plan released Wednesday by the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, which will award $100 million in grants and $3 billion in additional tax credit authority to support community-based financial institutions. The awards, available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will support underserved communities. The CDFI Fund plans to disburse awards within 120 days. The CDFI Fund will re-open its 2009 CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program award rounds to enable additional applicants to apply, and will offer current applicants the opportunity to request larger awards. The Recovery Act authorizes the CDFI Fund to allocate $3 billion of tax credit authority to qualified Community Development Entities (CDEs) under the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program: $1.5 billion to CDEs that applied for allocation authority under the 2008 NMTC allocation round; and $1.5 billion to CDEs that apply for allocation authority under the 2009 NMTC allocation round. The $3 billion in allocation authority is in addition to the $3.5 billion already allocated for the NMTC this year. The CDFI Fund estimates that the $6.5 billion in NMTC allocation authority will help to develop or rehabilitate 33 million square feet of real estate in low-income communities, supporting thousands of construction jobs.