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Peters Welcomes Nearly $36 Million in COVID Relief Funding To Help Michigan Small Businesses and Consumers in Minority Communities

Peters Helped Secure the Funding Through COVID Relief Package Last Year

DETROIT, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today welcomed news that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has awarded nearly $36 million to communities across Michigan through the Community Development Financial Institutions Rapid Response Program (CDFI RRP), which he helped secure in the December COVID relief package last year. These resources will provide necessary capital for CDFIs to respond to economic challenges caused by the pandemic, particularly in underserved communities.

“I’m proud to have helped secure this COVID relief funding that will help communities in need across our state as they work to rebuild after this pandemic,” said Senator Peters. “These funds will support the financial institutions that can help small businesses keep their doors open, families make ends meet and communities of color and underserved areas hard-hit by COVID. I’ll continue doing everything possible to support minority communities and small businesses build back better.”

“We congratulate Michigan’s credit unions that will receive funds through the CDFI Rapid Response Program,” said Patty Corkery, President and CEO, Michigan Credit Union League. “The grants will enable these credit unions to continue making an incredible, transformative impact for the people, businesses, and communities they serve, and we appreciate Senator Peters’ work to help secure this funding.”

“As a newly certified CDFI credit union, we are very excited about the opportunity the RRP grant award will provide Astera Credit Union,” said Martin R. Carter, President and CEO at Astera Credit Union. “At a strategic level we are committed to improving the financial well-being of both consumers and businesses in the low-income communities we serve. This grant award will help Astera create a larger infrastructure to support and significantly expand our lending to a much broader group of financially challenged lower-income members and potential members.  I want to personally thank Senator Peters for the work he did in passing this relief package.”

“The funding provided through the CDFI Fund Rapid Response Program will provide critical resources to Detroit small businesses through our CDFI Coalition — a group that is uniquely positioned to quickly and effectively support our small business community,” said Christine Coady Narayanan, President & CEO, Opportunity Resource Fund & Chair, Detroit CDFI Coalition. “Because of this funding we will be better able to comprehensively assist these businesses that have been deeply affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Thank you to Senator Peters for recognizing the value of CDFIs and supporting our small business community through initiatives like this and others such as the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Program.”

“Members First Credit Union is honored to be a grant recipient of the CDFI’s Rapid Response Program,” said Eric Brubaker, President/CEO of Members First Credit Union. “As a designated Community Development Financial Institution, we are committed to serving those who have historically been underserved within the financial industry. As a part of the credit union movement, Members First takes a great deal of care in our role as a member-owned cooperative, serving our local communities. We look forward to utilizing our grant funding in order to make a meaningful impact as our hardest hit populations begin the recovery process from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Many of our customers are hurting and the RRP program is going to be a huge help,” said Eric Hanna, President & CEO at Michigan Community Capital. “A simple formula application meant we didn’t have to navigate complex rules and the rapid deployment means that funds will arrive in time to support vulnerable projects and people. CDFI’s are a smart investment with high, targeted and long-term impacts and this is something we know Senator Peters understands.”

“We are so appreciative of the key role that Senator Peters has in pushing this through to enactment,” said Laura Galbraith, President of Venture North Funding and Development. “The funding gives us a real shot in the arm to support the recovery and turnaround of small businesses that were victims of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Our plan will be to leverage these dollars to help rekindle growth and development, particularly in distressed areas. The resiliency of small businesses in northwest Michigan has been nothing short of amazing. We know, for example that over 95 percent of the hundreds of small business with nine or fewer employees that received Regional Resiliency Grants from Venture North are open and moving forward. This new funding will enable us to help businesses accelerate their progress.”

“Helping people is at the heart of everything we do, and during the pandemic, our members were able to turn to us for support and advice,” said Michael Poulos, President and CEO of Michigan First Credit Union. “We specialize in working with people one-on-one to help them achieve financial stability by building credit, growing their savings, consolidating and lowering debt, buying a car or becoming a first time homeowner. These grant funds will allow us to help even more individuals and small business owners across the communities we serve.”

A list of grant recipients in Michigan can be found below.

Organization Name                                                  City                             Amount

Advia Credit Union                                                    Parchment                   $1,826,265

Allegan Community Federal Credit Union                Allegan                       $1,826,265

Astera Credit Union                                                    Lansing                      $1,500,000

Chi Ishobak, Inc.                                                        Dowagiac                    $1,278,385

CORE Community Partners                                       Bingham Farms          $200,000

Detroit Development Fund                                         Detroit                        $1,826,265

ELGA Credit Union                                                   Burton                         $1,826,265

First Independence Bank                                            Detroit                        $1,826,265

Grand Rapids Opportunities for Women                   Grand Rapids              $200,000

Great Lakes Womens Business Council                    Livonia                        $700,000

Invest Detroit Foundation                                           Detroit                         $1,826,265

Kalamazoo Neighborhood Housing Services             Kalamazoo                  $200,000

Lake Huron Credit Union                                           Saginaw                       $1,826,265

Lake Superior Community Development Corp.        L’Anse                         $343,000

Lake Trust Credit Union                                             Brighton                      $1,826,265

Members First Credit Union                                       Midland                       $1,826,265

Metro Community Development, Inc.                       Flint                              $1,050,000

Michigan Community Capital                                    Lansing                        $1,826,265

Michigan First Credit Union                                      Lathrup Village            $1,826,265

Northern Great Lakes Initiatives                                Marquette                     $1,826,265

Northern Shores Community Development, Inc.       Harbor Springs             $200,000

OMNI Community Credit Union                               Battle Creek                  $1,826,265

One Detroit Credit Union                                           Detroit                          $1,826,265

Opportunity Resource Fund                                       Lansing                         $1,826,265

Prosperus Detroit Micro Lending                               Detroit                          $200,000

Public Service Credit Union                                       Romulus                       $1,826,265

Venture North Funding & Development                    Traverse City                $829,000

Total                                                                                                               $35,920,624

The funds will provide necessary capital for CDFIs to respond to economic challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in underserved communities. Peters has been championing efforts to support CDFIs. Peters successfully led the charge in April 2021 to secure funding that was enacted as part of COVID relief legislation that allotted dedicated funding for small community-based lenders, including CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). The legislation included $60 billion dedicated to small lenders and community-based financial institutions to serve the needs of unbanked and undeserved small businesses and non-profits. Of that funding, $30 billion was to specifically assist CDFIs, MDIs and other community-focused lenders. This came after the Treasury Department found that only 78 of 950 CDFIs participated in the first round of Small Business Paycheck Protection Program funding, largely impacting minority-owned businesses including those in low-income communities.

Last year he led a bill to increase access to capital for community investment institutions working to support small businesses and consumers in minority and underserved communities during the pandemic. His Community Capital Investment Act would establish a Treasury Department program to provide community investment institutions, such as community banks and credit unions, in historically underserved communities with critical direct capital investments and loans. Although measures last year providing funding to these institutions were approved in Coronavirus relief legislation, those limited resources were quickly exhausted.