Since my last update, I know that many of us have been dealing with a high degree of uncertainty in both our organizations and our communities. The "new normal" created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect day-to-day life—from how to we work, to how we take care of our families, to how we interact with the world.
This time of year, I am typically on the road visiting our CDFIs and attending conferences. Of course, the travel restrictions and distancing guidelines have prevented that. I have been fortunate, however, to be able to participate in several virtual conferences and meetings with CDFIs, CDEs, and their partner organizations. This has allowed me to hear some of the inspiring stories of your work in your communities now—how you are innovating your normal business practices for a virtual environment; how you have been helping your clients stay afloat and adapt to these challenging circumstances.
As a team, the CDFI Fund has also had to adjust to the "new normal" of working from home and administering our programs and services virtually. We have been dedicated, however, to keeping our application rounds on track so that we can get vital funding out to community organizations as soon as possible.
We recently announced over $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations that were awarded to 76 Community Development Entities as part of the calendar year 2019 round of the NMTC Program. The award recipients are headquartered in 30 different states and the District of Columbia. This brings the total amount awarded through the NMTC Program to $61 billion.
We have released a Request for Information on the Small Dollar Loan Program (SDLP). Authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (P.L. 111-203), SDLP is intended to help unbanked and underbanked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and allow greater access into the mainstream financial system at safe and affordable rates and terms. The program will provide grants for Loan Loss Reserves and Technical Assistance to enable Certified CDFIs to establish and maintain small dollar loan programs. Learn more about the Request for Information and how to submit comments on the CDFI Fund's website.
We are in the process of finalizing the details of a joint initiative between the CDFI Fund and the Corporation for National and Community Service to launch a new Economic Mobility Corps. The Economic Mobility Corps will place national service members into CDFIs for the purpose of enhancing their financial counseling and empowerment activities. We hope to be able to release the details of this initiative and how to apply for funding in the fall.
We're still seeking public comment on the new CDFI Certification Application and reporting tools that will be used to certify, evaluate, and recertify CDFIs. The revisions will ensure that our practices continue to reflect and represent the evolving nature of CDFIs, as well as safeguard government resources. I encourage you to send in any questions you have while you review and we will make the answers available to everyone through an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document. You can view the Requests for Public Comment on the new CDFI Certification Application and reporting forms and the FAQ on the CDFI Fund's website here – the comment deadline has been extended to November 5.
While we're looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our new initiatives, we know that business as usual hasn't been quite as usual this year. We are hearing from organizations that are having compliance and reporting concerns, and we are considering every request. We do not want to make broad changes to application requirements and compliance obligations too quickly, but wish instead to be thoughtful and take a long-term view of what organizations might need during this crisis.
The CDFI Fund will continue to evaluate requests from CDFIs and program Recipients that have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis on a case-by-case basis, and we will communicate any general actions as needed. Please submit an AMIS Service Request if you need to request a compliance and reporting deadline extension or have a question about your Assistance, Award, or Allocation Agreement requirements. The Service Request should address your specific issue, how it is directly attributable to the COVID-19 crisis, and what your organization is requesting.
We know that community development organizations across the country are stepping up to provide the critical support and resources that families, businesses, and communities need most in this uncharted economic environment. Please continue to reach out and let us know of any concerns you may have, so that we can provide support and resources for this urgent effort.
Thank you for all of the good work that you do,
CDFI Fund Director Jodie L. Harris