The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Program was established by the Reigle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 to use federal resources to invest in and build the capacity of CDFIs to serve low-income people and communities lacking adequate access to affordable financial products and services. Since its inception, the Fund has made more than $500 million in awards to loan funds, banks, credit unions, and community development venture capital funds.
The Fund provides monetary awards for Financial Assistance (FA) and Technical Assistance (TA) through the CDFI Program. CDFIs use FA awards to further goals such as:
1. Economic development (job creation, business development, and commercial real estate development);
2. Affordable housing (housing development and homeownership); and
3. Community development financial services (provision of basic banking services to underserved communities, financial literacy training, and predatory lending alternatives).
Start-up and existing CDFIs use TA grants to build their capacity to serve their Target Market through the acquisition of goods and services such as consulting services, technology purchases, and staff or board training.
Financial Assistance Awards – Through FA awards, the Fund invests in certified CDFIs that demonstrate they have the financial and managerial capacity to: 1) provide affordable and appropriate financial products and services that positively impact their communities; 2) be viable financial institutions; and 3) use and leverage CDFI Fund dollars effectively.
FA awards are made in the form of equity investments, loans, deposits, or grants, and must be matched, dollar for dollar, by the applicant with funds of the same type from non-federal sources. FA awards enable CDFIs to leverage private capital to respond to demand for affordable financial products and services in economically distressed markets and by low-income families. CDFIs respond to this demand through the provision of loans, investments, training, technical assistance and basic financial services such as checking or savings accounts. Based on data supplied by CDFIs required to report to the Fund, it is estimated that CDFIs leverage their FA awards with other dollars by an average of 20:1.
Applicants may request a maximum $2,000,000 award under the FA Program to be used as financing capital, loan loss reserves, capital reserves, or operations.
Technical Assistance Awards – Technical Assistance (TA) grants allow certified CDFIs and established entities seeking to become certified CDFIs to build their capacity by acquiring prescribed types of products or services including technology (usually efficiency enhancing technology such as computers and loan management software), staff training, consulting services to acquire needed skills or services (such as a market analysis or lending policies and procedures), or staff time to conduct discrete, capacity-building activities (such as website development).
Applicants may request a maximum $100,000 award under the TA Program. All TA Awards are in the form of a grant and can be used for personnel costs, training, travel, professional service costs, materials, and equipment.
An organization wishing to apply for FA only or a combination of FA and TA must be certified as a CDFI by the Fund. Interested applicants that are not yet certified must submit a separate Certification Application by October 5, 2007 to be considered for FA during the 2008 funding round.
An organization wishing to apply for TA only must be either already certified as a CDFI or be able to become certified by the Fund within two years of its application.