Impact Investing Profile: Cooperative Federal

A $250,000 secondary capital loan is helping Cooperative Federal expand lending in the Syracuse community.

The Community Foundation’s first impact investment was established to support Cooperative Federal (Coop Fed). Coop Fed, a nonprofit credit union and a certified Community Development Financial Institution, is using the $250,000 secondary capital loan over a ten-year term to enhance its capital ratio and thereby expand lending in the Syracuse community. This allows them to provide more loans to first-time homebuyers, micro-businesses, and individuals seeking personal financing.

Since the initial investment, which included Community Foundation dollars and donor-advised fundholder support, Coop Fed has granted a total of $52 million in loans to local residents and businesses. The majority of these loans, approximately 80%, have served low and moderate-income communities, including first-time homebuyers and minority- or women-owned business enterprises (MWBE). More than a third benefited those living in high poverty neighborhood census tracks.  Looking ahead, Coop Fed expects to reach at least $88 million in new loans by 2026.

Cooperative Federal is dedicated to fostering economic justice, financial strength and reinvestment in Syracuse neighborhoods. Its members are historically underbanked and live and work in disinvested communities. More than half of their members do not have a credit score at all or score below 600 when they first join the credit union, making it harder for them to qualify for loans. Coop Fed’s community development model combines counseling, technical assistance and education with financial tools such as mortgages, loans and account services to help its members reach their goals and build financial stability.

Our impact investment with Cooperative Federal is magnifying their community impact several times over. For those who struggle to buy homes, build businesses or even afford cars, the loans are a lifeline; they deliver first opportunities and second chances. Our partnership is driving economic growth and empowering individuals to overcome adversity, paving the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for Central New York residents.

Our impact investing program provides sustainable long-term benefit to the community while preserving capital and attaining a modest financial return. We engage in this practice by carefully selecting opportunities such as loans, equity investments, guarantees or recoverable grants that align with our mission and contribute to the betterment of Central New York. Learn more at cnycf.org/impactinvesting

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