The New Year marked the end of the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2010, and a good time to look ahead so that we are prepared to achieve the ambitious goals we set this year. Signs point toward progress on economic recovery and important steps continue to be taken each day toward achieving a more stable, equitable and inclusive financial system. The CDFI Fund has been at the forefront of national economic recovery efforts and our work has taken us from distressed communities on the margins of our economy to policy discussions at the highest level that will shape the very structure of our financial system.

The road to economic recoveryĐespecially in underserved communitiesĐis a long and difficult one, but the historic achievements of FY 2009 have deepened our resolve and given the CDFI Fund a powerful momentum upon which we will build. While the past year was exceptional for the CDFI Fund, I am expecting an even more exciting year in 2010 as we continue to increase our capacity and expand our assistance to more communities.

The first quarter of FY 2010 continued to be extremely busy at the CDFI Fund. On October 2nd, the CDFI Fund also awarded nearly $53 million to 62 organizations in financial and technical assistance grants at an event held at a highly successful business in Milwaukee that got its start with funding from a local CDFI and now employs hundreds. On October 30th, we joined Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in Chicago to award $5 billion in New Markets Tax Credits to 99 CDEs, including $1.5 billion made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

In addition to these important announcements, four significant events took place last quarter that demonstrate the importance of CDFIs in our nation's economic recovery. First, we were able to arrange for outstanding small business and CDFI representatives to shine alongside Secretary Tim Geithner and SBA Administrator Karen Mills at the Treasury-SBA Small Business Financing Forum. Second, the CDFI Fund helped put in place a national initiative announced by President Obama that offers favorable terms for CDFI banks and credit unions that finance small businesses. These two efforts were instrumental in arranging President Obama's meeting with four CDFI executives as part of a group of 12 CEOs and presidents of community banks and CDFI banks and credit unions at a December 22nd roundtable at the White House to discuss small business lending. With the President meeting directly with CDFI representatives at the White House, we feel confident that our mission enjoys unprecedented levels of support.

Last, but certainly not least, the CDFI Fund will receive nearly $247 million in resources this year under our largest ever appropriationsĐa 130 percent increase over the $107 million in regular appropriations we received in 2009. Taken together these four events show that policy makers and business leaders at the highest levels understand that CDFIs are critical tools for our nation's economic recovery.

Clearly, we have already begun to set the bar very high in FY 2010, completing some of the largest award announcements in the history of the CDFI Fund and utilizing our Advisory Board to respond to the economic crisis with policy recommendations for Main Treasury and Congress and to suggest changes within the CDFI Fund itself. Throughout 2010, we will strive to maintain the momentum we have created so far and continue to increase our effectiveness in providing economic development opportunities in our nation's most underserved communities. We are aiming to meet and exceed the accomplishments of last year with greater internal operating efficiencies and by expanding our assistance to underserved communities with new initiatives. This quarter, the CDFI Fund will open the first round of the Capital Magnet Fund and announce the awards under the new Financial Education and Counseling (FEC) Pilot Program.

Our new programs have been met with overwhelming support from the industry, underscoring the extraordinary demand for community economic development resources at this time. In FY 2010, we will be prepared to meet new commitments and to achieve impact far beyond what our resources suggest are possible.

Finally, I am proud to announce that the CDFI Fund is co-sponsoring the 2010 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference on March 14th - 18th in New Orleans, Louisiana. This is the first time a non-regulatory agency is officially co-sponsoring the conference and a fantastic tribute in our 15th Anniversary year to how far the CDFI Fund has come since its inception. We will continue to build partnerships in FY 2010 with other government and non-governmental organizations interested in improving conditions in low-income communities.

Without a doubt, the accomplishments we have already realized represent an unambiguous recognition of the tremendous dedication and hard work of the men and women of the CDFI Fund. But even more importantly, they represent a profound responsibility. In our 15th Anniversary Year, we are entrusted with greatly expanded resources and duties, and must do our very best to ensure that economic development and job growth reach the communities that need them most. We must not lose sight of what is at stake for the households we ultimately serve. The New Year promises vast opportunities and I look forward to continuing the critical mission of the CDFI Fund.

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