Inclusiv Recognizes Historic Significance of Agreement Between CDFI Fund and COSSEC
For Immediate Release
NEW YORK, NY (March 26, 2019) – Inclusiv is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) and the Corporation for the Supervision and Insurance of Financial Cooperatives (COSSEC), Puerto Rico’s regulator for financial cooperatives. The document was ratified by COSSEC at a signing ceremony held during the Annual Assembly of the Asociación de Ejecutivos de Cooperativas (ASEC) in San Juan, the island's principal financial cooperative membership organization. The agreement establishes a legal framework that will allow for the exchange of financial information between the agencies, streamlining the due diligence process for the disbursement of technical and financial assistance grant funding.
Pablo DeFilippi, SVP of Membership and Network Engagement for Inclusiv, said the agreement represented a milestone for the growing CDFI sector in the island, “Inclusiv is proud to have played a role in this development by facilitating communications between both agencies. This accomplishment highlights the importance of the strategic partnership between Inclusiv and ASEC. We reaffirm our commitment to continue promoting the CDFI business model and the CDFI accreditation in Puerto Rico as tools to build the capacity of the sector so that it can more effectively contribute to a more equitable and resilient rebuilding of local economies throughout the island”.
José Julian Ramírez, Executive Director of ASEC, said the agreement would help streamline the CDFI certification and application processes for financial cooperatives, for the benefit of vulnerable communities in the island, “We are convinced that this agreement between COSSEC and the CDFI Fund will streamline the CDFI certification related processes for our local cooperatives. This will allow them to access funding to expand the services they provide for Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable communities”.
COSSEC regulates a community owned system of over 114 financial cooperatives that has been operating in the island for more than half a century. The local system has $9.4 billion in assets and serves over 1 million members in vulnerable communities. Financial cooperatives have the largest branch footprint on the island, with a critical presence in rural communities.
Both executives agreed that the MOU would strengthen the network of Puerto Rico financial cooperatives by allowing them to access resources from public and private entities, such as the CDFI Fund, the Federal Home Loan Bank, CRA investments from banks, and others. “We applaud COSSEC and the CDFI Fund for this important step, and congratulate the leadership of the financial cooperative network in Puerto Rico that has played an important role in this process,” said DeFilippi.
Collaboration between the CDFI Fund, COSSEC, ASEC and other federal, state agencies and nonprofit organizations is an integral part of Inclusiv’s Puerto Rico CDFI Initiative. The project seeks to leverage the historic role financial cooperatives have played in promoting financial inclusion, as well as to boost their capacity to engage in community development and economic revitalization projects to strengthen vulnerable communities in Puerto Rico.
At Inclusiv, we believe that true financial inclusion and empowerment is a fundamental right. We dedicate ourselves to closing the gaps and removing barriers to financial opportunities for people living in distressed and underserved communities. Inclusiv is a certified CDFI intermediary that transforms local progress into lasting national change. We provide capital, make connections, build capacity, develop innovative products and services and advocate for our member community development credit unions (CDCUs). Inclusiv members serve over eight million residents of low-income urban, rural and reservation-based communities across the U.S. and hold over $92 billion in community-controlled assets. Founded in 1974, Inclusiv is headquartered in New York, NY, with offices in Madison, WI and Atlanta, GA. For more information about Inclusiv visit us at Inclusiv.org and connect with us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
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