Learn About HERO


HERO stands for "helping everyone reach opportunity." HERO, or Community Development Certified Financial Counseling, if you'd like to call it by its full name, was developed for organizations serving working-class populations, including cooperatives, government agencies, CDFIs, and credit unions. It is also an effective way for mainstream financial institutions and loan funds to better serve consumers when they face difficult times.

HERO is certified by the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) through its Community Development Initiative. Founded in 1916, the NCBA is one of the nation’s first organizations dedicated to community development. Cooperatives contribute to broad community revitalization through affordable housing, healthy food financing activities, access to affordable healthcare and the creation of sustainable jobs.

HERO provides training, testing and certification that allows your staff to:

  1. Better serve consumers;
  2. Safely increase lending beyond A and B borrowers, driving up ROA and profitability and;
  3. Cultivate effective partnerships with cooperatives and community organizations also trained with HERO in order to achieve broader community revitalization.

screenshot While other financial counseling programs focus extensively on investments and asset building, HERO focuses on lending to people that need loans. HERO allows financial institutions to “invent” their own qualified borrowers by coaching consumers to become credit worthy.

Community Development Certified Financial Counseling's training and tools are always relevant and never out of date, because they are not sold as workbooks. The training is an online curriculum with testing protocols and security equivalent to a proctored exam. New tools are continually added, as predatory lenders are always updating their practices to find ways around changing regulations.

screenshot Organizations applying for grants, including CDFI Fund awards, benefit from these online tools with results tracking, which is essential to writing a winning CDFI grant application. It’s also a beneficial to management—helping to identify new lending opportunities.