Pre-Application Webinar Scheduled for October 4, 2023
Later this fall, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) will be accepting applications for the Small Dollar Loan Program (SDL Program). The SDL Program was created to encourage Certified CDFIs to establish or expand small dollar consumer loan programs that provide alternatives to high-cost small dollar loans. For this program, small dollar loans are unsecured loans of up to $2,500. The grants may be used for two eligible activities, loan loss reserves and technical assistance activities.
Through the SDL Program, Certified CDFIs use award funds to help unbanked and underbanked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and allow greater access into the mainstream financial system. Certified CDFIs may use these funds individually, or through a partnership between a Certified CDFI and any Federally Insured Depository Institution with a primary mission to serve targeted Investment Areas, or through a partnership between two or more Certified CDFIs.
The CDFI Fund currently anticipates that up to $18 million will be available for the fiscal year (FY) 2024 application round of the SDL Program. This round of the SDL Program will consist of funding provided under the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023 (Pub. L. 117-328), as well as forthcoming FY 2024 appropriations. The total amount of funding made available will be determined by final enactment of the CDFI Fund’s FY 2024 appropriations.
Does this sound like a program that can help your organization’s small dollar lending efforts? The CDFI Fund is hosting an informational webinar on October 4, 2023, to provide more details about the program and to outline steps your organization should take to get ready to apply for a FY 2024 award. View more information about this pre-application webinar here. Advance registration is required to participate in the webinar.
In addition, organizations interested in applying for FY 2024 funds should start their preparations now by following the “Getting Ready to Apply” steps outlined below. Both new applicants and applicants that have previously applied to CDFI Fund programs should review the steps.
After reviewing the steps below, stay tuned for additional news about the program by subscribing to receive updates from the CDFI Fund.1
Prepare Now: Initial “Getting Ready to Apply” Steps
The CDFI Fund encourages you to thoroughly review the information provided on SAM.gov and Grants.gov in advance, as the CDFI Fund is not responsible for maintaining those systems and processes may change.
To successfully submit an SDL Program funding application, your organization will need to have key information on hand and account access for several different federal government websites. You should act now to speed things up for your organization when the application period opens for the SDL Program.
Completing the following steps will ensure that you will be able to access required forms and information in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS). Please note that while we have done our best to compile useful links to help you, the CDFI Fund is not responsible for maintaining links or the accuracy of the information on other organizations' websites.
Step 1: Create or Update Your SAM.gov Account
SAM.gov is an official website of the U.S. government that collects, validates, stores, and disseminates business information about the federal government's trading partners in support of the contract awards, grants, and electronic payment processes. You must have an active registration in SAM.gov to do business with the federal government.
Registration in SAM.gov is required as part of the Grants.gov registration process and for all applications submitted for the SDL Program.
Applicants that have previously registered with SAM.gov must verify their accounts are current and active, as they need to be renewed annually. Even if your organization has registered with SAM.gov previously, you should not assume that your account is still active. Also, the process to reactivate your SAM.gov account may take longer than you anticipate. If your SAM.gov account is not active, you will be unable to submit your Standard Form (SF)-424 Mandatory in Grants.gov or in AMIS. Additionally, if your organization is selected to receive an FY 2024 SDL Program award, the proceeds from your award will be paid to the bank account you have on file with SAM.gov. Therefore, it is important to have accurate bank information in the system.
- SAM.gov requires the public to have a Login.gov account to use SAM.gov. Here's more information about how to use Login.gov to access SAM.gov.
- Here’s a useful link on how to register a new entity with SAM.gov.
- This process may take three weeks or longer for both new applicants and applicants that need to re-activate an existing SAM.gov account.*
Step 2: Obtain your UEI and EIN Numbers
All entities wishing to do business with the federal government must have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI). Each application submission for a federal award must include a UEI. Applicants without a UEI will not be able to register in Grants.gov, nor submit a Standard Form (SF)-424 Mandatory in the Grants.gov system. Further, the UEI in your SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and AMIS accounts must all match and must be the correct UEI for the organization submitting an SDL Program application. Learn more about how to obtain a UEI here.
Applicants must also have an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to register in SAM.gov, which is a prerequisite to submit a SF-424 Mandatory via Grants.gov. Applicants that do not have an EIN must apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain the number. Further, the EIN in your SAM.gov and AMIS accounts must match and must be the correct EIN of the applicant.
- Please allow sufficient time to obtain your organization's EIN.
- To obtain an EIN, please visit the IRS.gov page here.
If you are currently registered in SAM.gov, you have already been assigned a UEI by SAM.gov. It is viewable on your entity registration record in SAM.gov. If you need to update or renew your registration, you will still need to ensure your renewal or updates occur on time and as required, but this does not affect whether you have been assigned a UEI. If your registration has expired, go here for instructions on how to renew your entity registration.
Step 3: Create or Update Your Grants.gov Account
Applicants must have a Grants.gov account and submit the appropriate SF-424 Mandatory by the deadline listed in the applicable program Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register.
The appropriate SF-424 Mandatory must be completed and submitted electronically via Grants.gov by the applicable deadline prior to submitting the AMIS Application materials by a later deadline. You will not be able to submit the SF-424 Mandatory to the CDFI Fund directly. If you upload the SF-424 Mandatory to your AMIS account, it will not be reviewed. An SF-424 Mandatory must be submitted separately for each program applied to on an annual basis, in accordance with each program’s NOFA.
- Please allow sufficient time to register for a Grants.gov account.
- Here is a useful link on how to register for a Grants.gov account.
Step 4: Create or Update Your AMIS Account
Make sure your AMIS account is up to date—verify the contacts for your organization are current and assign them the proper permissions. Only a user designated as an Authorized Representative in AMIS can sign the FY 2024 SDL Program Application.
Make sure that the person signing the application as the Authorized Representative has authority to sign legal documents on behalf of your organization. Consultants working on behalf of your organization cannot be designated as Authorized Representatives. Be sure to include email addresses and phone numbers for each contact. Also, make sure that your organization’s mailing address is correct.
In addition, your organization must have an EIN/Tax ID and UEI number recorded in AMIS in order to submit your application when the applicable funding round is opened. These numbers should reflect those recorded in the SF-424 Mandatory.
- Please allow 1-2 business days to create or update an AMIS account*.
- Learn how to establish an AMIS account here.
*Applicants are advised that the stated durations are estimates only and represent minimum timeframes. Actual timeframes may take longer.
1In addition to the steps outlined here, SDL Program Applicants, as well as their prospective sub-recipients that are not direct beneficiaries of federal financial assistance (e.g., Depository Institutions Holding Company and their Subsidiary Depository Institutions), will also need to complete a Title VI Compliance Worksheet once annually with their Applications. Details on this requirement will be provided in the SDL Program Notice of Funds Availability. Additional information on this requirement is available on the CDFI Fund website, here.