WASHINGTON (12/27/07)—An omnibus spending bill approved last week by Congress included the first increase in years in the funds appropriated for the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The bill included $94 million for grants, investments and technical assistance for community development projects through the CDFI. In recent years, the Bush administration repeatedly pushed for and secured cuts in the CDFI funding, maintaining that CDFIs should have a higher rate of return on their investments and not need increased taxpayer support. Last year the program was funded at $55 million. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has worked with the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions and the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions to oppose attempts to cut the fund. The CDFI Fund provides capital grants, equity investments and awards for technical assistance to community development financial institutions, including credit unions Financial institutions are required to provide a 1:1 match for most of the awarded funds, which are offered on a competitive basis. Also in Congress’ massive spending bill, $975,000 was approved for the National Credit Union Administration’s (NCUA’s) Community Development Revolving Loan Fund (CDRLF), up from $941,000 the previous year. CUNA backs an even higher funding level for the program it believes plays a vital role in underserved communities. The CDRLF provides loans and technical assistance grants to credit unions, enabling them to enhance their technologies in order to provide increased products and services. Funding for the NCUA’s Central Liquidity Fund, which has functioned as a backup liquidity lender for the credit union system since Congress established it in 1978, was set at $1.5 billion, the same level as for FY 2007.