CDFI Impact Blog



Tackling Banking Deserts By Giving New Life to Unused Real Estate Banking Deserts By Giving New Life to Unused Real Estate<div class="ExternalClass61683918A3F0450FA5E0A75A806E3FB4"><h3>A BEA Program Success Story - HOPE Credit Union Receives Two Regions Bank Branches </h3> <br> <p>Last month, the CDFI Fund announced the selection of 102 FDIC-insured depository institutions to receive $18.6 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA Program) grants. </p><p>The BEA Program recognizes that it takes financial institutions of different types and sizes to meet the various needs of communities across the nation. One of the primary objectives of the BEA Program is to encourage mainstream financial institutions to provide financial support to certified CDFIs. The BEA Program achieves this objective by prioritizing awards to applicants that provide loans and investments to certified CDFIs and in FY 2016, 59 BEA Award Recipients provided more than $61 million in qualified loans and investments to 56 certified CDFIs. </p><p>Each of these investments was beneficial to the CDFI that received it, and I’d like to tell you about one that I thought was creative and unique. In 2015, Regions Bank, a large FDIC-insured depository institution, donated two brick-and-mortar branch locations in rural Mississippi to HOPE Enterprises, a Certified CDFI credit union. In addition to donating the branches, Regions Bank also provided HOPE with a $500,000 grant to cover operating expenses which helped to ensure that HOPE’s presence in these communities would be a success. </p><hr /><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;"> </p><p style="text-align:center;"> <img alt="Moordhead Branch" src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/MoorheadBranch2.png" style="width:450px;" /> </p><div> <span class="ms-rteFontSize-1"> <em>In 2015, Regions Bank conveyed two empty branches in rural Mississippi to HOPE Credit Union. In addition, Regions provided HOPE an operating grant to support HOPE’s expansion into the highly economically distressed communities of Itta Bena and Moorhead. This donation qualified Regions for a Bank Enterprise Award and will allow HOPE to expand into a banking desert. </em></span></div></div><p> </p><hr /><p>The branches are located in highly distressed census tracts in the cities of Itta Bena and Moorhead, Mississippi. According to the 2006-2010 American Community Survey data: the Itta Bena branch is located in a census tract that has a poverty rate of 40.2 percent and an unemployment rate of over 15 percent; and the Moorhead branch is located in a census tract with an poverty rate of 48.4 percent and an unemployment rate of more than 24 percent. </p><p>This investment counted towards Regions Bank FY 2016 BEA Program Award of $172,199.00. More importantly, however, it provided the physical infrastructure needed for HOPE to expand into these highly distressed rural communities which will ensure that their customers will have access to affordable and safe financial products and services for many years to come. In June 2017, CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan was able to visit these branches. Director Donovan noted that, “what I saw in the Mississippi Delta is consistent with our findings in the<a href="/news-events/news/Pages/news-detail.aspx?NewsID=260&Category" target="_blank"> BEA Evaluation</a>. Program participants are reaching deeply distressed communities.” </p><p>In nearly six years of working on the BEA Program, I cannot recall seeing a more unique example of a mainstream financial institution collaborating with a certified CDFI. I encourage others to think creatively about how they participate in the BEA Program. </p><p> <i>David Fleites is a Senior Policy and Program Officer for the Bank Enterprise Award Program and New Markets Tax Credit Program</i></p>David Fleites2017-10-12T14:52:00ZLocal Impact38GP0|#6977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9;L0|#06977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9|Bank Enterprise Award Program;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#1df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee;L0|#01df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee|Mississippi;GP0|#7b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb;L0|#07b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb|Credit Unions;GP0|#6c6d17ef-fcb5-4e67-b444-d90ca9e01872;L0|#06c6d17ef-fcb5-4e67-b444-d90ca9e01872|Banks
Getting Ready to Apply for CDFI Fund Grant Assistance in Four Steps Ready to Apply for CDFI Fund Grant Assistance in Four Steps<div class="ExternalClass875EC7D3F94E453DA8E99516BE68D58C"><p><i>This post was originally published on April 27, 2018, and was updated on June 4, 2018 to clarify that both new and existing accounts are affected by recent registration policy changes. </i></p><p>If your organization is contemplating submitting an application to a future or upcoming funding round for one of the CDFI Fund’s programs, there are things you can start doing now in order to ensure a smooth application process. Organizations interested in applying to the Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA Program), Capital Magnet Fund, Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program), Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program), or CDFI Bond Guarantee Program (BGP) may find the following information helpful in getting started.</p><p> To successfully submit a CDFI Fund program funding application, your organization will need to have key information on hand and account access for several different federal government websites. You can act now to speed things up for your organization when the application period for the program you are interested in applying to, opens. </p><p>Completing the following will ensure that you will be able to access required forms and information in,, 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.<br></p><div><h3>Step 1: Obtain your DUNS and EIN Numbers</h3><p> Each applicant must provide, as part of its application submission, a Dun and Bradstreet Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number. Applicants without a DUNS number will not be able to register in and, nor submit an application in the system.</p><div><div><ul><li><p> <strong>Estimated time: One week or more.*</strong> Please allow sufficient time for Dun and Bradstreet to respond to inquiries and/or requests for DUNS numbers.</p></li><li><p> <a href="">Learn more about how to obtain a DUNS number here</a>.</p></li></ul></div></div><p> Applicants must also have an Employer Identification Number <strong>(</strong><strong>EIN</strong><strong>)</strong> to register in, which is a prerequisite to submit a funding application via Applicants that do not have an EIN number must apply to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to obtain the number.<br></p></div><div><div><ul><li><p> <strong>Estimated time: Two weeks or more.*</strong></p></li><li><p> <a href="">To obtain an EIN, please visit the page here</a>.<br></p></li></ul></div></div><h3>Step 2: Create or Update Your Account</h3><p>The System for Award Management (SAM) 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 to do business with the federal government.</p><div><p> Registration in SAM is <strong>required</strong> as part of the registration process and for all Qualified Issuer and Guarantee Applications submitted for the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.</p><p> Applicants that have previously registered with SAM must verify their accounts are current and active, as they need to be renewed annually. If your account is not active, you will be unable to submit the portion of your application. Additionally, if your application is successful, the funds from your award will be paid to the bank account you have on file with Therefore, it is important to have accurate bank information in the system.</p><div><div><ul><li><p> <strong>Estimated time</strong><strong>:</strong> Due to recent procedural changes, <a href="">found here</a>, this process may take more than one <strong>month</strong> for both new applicants and applicants that need to re-activate an existing account.<strong>*</strong></p></li> <li><p> <a href="">Here’s a useful link on how to register a new entity with</a>.<br></p></li></ul></div><h3>Step 3: Create or Update Your Account</h3><p> Applicants must have a account and submit the appropriate Standard Form (SF)-424 by the deadline listed in the applicable program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published in the Federal Register.</p><p> The appropriate SF-424 must be completed and submitted electronically via before the application materials are due in the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS). You will not be able to submit the SF-424 to the CDFI Fund directly. If you upload the SF-424 to your AMIS account, it will not be reviewed. An SF-424 must submitted separately for each program applied to on an annual basis, in accordance with each program’s NOFA.</p><div><div><ul><li><p> <strong>Estimated Time:</strong> One week or more, assuming an existing SAM.Gov account.*</p></li><li><p> <a href="">Here’s a useful link on how to register for a account.</a><br></p></li></ul></div><h3>Step 4: Create or Update Your AMIS Account</h3><p> 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 submit an application. Make sure that the person with the “Authorized Representative” permission is allowed 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 e-mail addresses and phone numbers for each contact. Also, make sure that your organization’s mailing address is correct.</p><p> In addition, your organization must have an EIN/Tax ID number recorded in AMIS in order to submit your application when the applicable funding round is opened.</p><div><div><ul><li><p> <strong>Estimated Time:</strong> 1-2 business days.*</p></li><li><p> <a href="">Learn how to establish an AMIS account here.</a><br></p></li></ul></div><p> Please note: </p><p>*Applicants are advised that the stated durations are estimates only and represent minimum timeframes. Actual timeframes may take longer.</p></div></div></div></div></div>2018-06-04T14:00:00ZPrograms and Initiatives48GP0|#a52ce078-0bf5-4ef8-aa4b-0b66902683da;L0|#0a52ce078-0bf5-4ef8-aa4b-0b66902683da|Capital Magnet Fund;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#0760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1;L0|#00760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1|CDFI Program;GP0|#c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9;L0|#0c890ec6f-810e-4c92-a8a0-1af04abbffc9|Native Initiatives;GP0|#e5ca169a-3210-4374-8024-08bc93cb9c65;L0|#0e5ca169a-3210-4374-8024-08bc93cb9c65|CDFI Bond Guarantee Program;GP0|#6977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9;L0|#06977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9|Bank Enterprise Award Program
Music to My Ears: The Financial Services Sector Helping Build the Capacity of CDFIs to My Ears: The Financial Services Sector Helping Build the Capacity of CDFIs<div class="ExternalClass1D6CC504FE3E4638A47500583295A276"><p>​<em>Judy Chapa is the Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Financial Services Roundtable and was appointed by President Trump to the Community Development Advisory Board, the CDFI Fund's advisory committee. She is one of the two members representing national consumer or public interest organizations. This post was originally published to the Financial Services Roundtable's Corporate Social Responsibility </em><a href="">webpage</a><em>.</em> </p><p>How many of you still remember when CDs made you think of music? I still remember using the association of music CDs to get consumers interested in opening checking or savings accounts and Certificates of Deposits (CDs). Today it is CDFIs that are a focus for me. <a href="/Documents/CDFI_infographic_v08A.pdf">Community Development Financial Institutions</a> (CDFIs) are organizations that aim to provide capital and technical assistance to families, individuals and small business owners who are unable to receive traditional bank loans. Their customers live in underserved communities and often require more flexible loans compared to those offered by traditional financial institutions.</p><p>CDFIs also aid in community development, increase access to capital, create jobs and provide an opportunity for affordable housing. Often, certified CDFIs offer financial literacy programs that are as unique and tailored to their customers as their financial services and products. As in all financial literacy programs the goal is for consumers to make informed decisions, and never is this more important that in economically distressed communities. Knowledge is power and financial literacy can help empower those in low-income areas with the knowledge and skills needed to graduate into the financial mainstream. </p><p>On a recent trip to south Texas with the U.S. Department of the Treasury's CDFI Fund Director, Annie Donovan, we saw firsthand how CDFIs working in Las Colonias, an area of persistent poverty, are making a difference.  While it was Director Donovan's first trip to McAllen, Texas, it was not for me. I grew up just down in the road in Roma, Texas.  It was no surprise to me that the area is considered persistently poor (when 20% or more of the population has lived in poverty for the last 30 years). The residents are resilient, hard-working and forming CDFIs that have the potential to disrupt the cycle of poverty. CDFIs have the potential to disrupt poverty by increasing access to capital, but this alone is not enough. Education is a prerequisite for meaningful change. </p><p>In McAllen, Texas, we met with Bobby Calvillo, the Executive Director for Affordable Homes of South Texas (AHSTI), and his team.  Since 1976, AHSTI has been dedicated to improving substandard housing conditions, and is a one-stop shop for home ownership including: land development, general contracting and providing a full-service mortgage company.</p><p>AHSTI supports consumers every step of the way with homebuyer education, financial fitness and post-purchase classes. By helping people increase their savings, reduce debt and maintain their home, consumers can buy a house, and keep it.  AHSTI has a home that was built as a teaching tool for simple home repair and maintenance. Here, the <a href="">financial literacy classes</a> included everything from setting up a budget to cleaning out your garbage disposal and finding the stud in your wall! <br></p><p style="text-align:center;"><img src="/impact/PublishingImages/Lists/Posts/AllPosts/IMG_0205.jpg" alt="IMG_0205.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:400px;height:266px;" /> </p><p>BBVA Compass has a large presence in Texas with 336 branches. They have invested $35 million to build CDFI capacity in struggling areas of Texas, including Las Colonias. These long-term investments help revitalize low-income communities.  In addition to its direct investment in CDFIs, BBVA's approach to aiding CDFIs also includes their partnership with the Opportunity Finance Network to create the Opportunity Fellows Program. Each fellow represents CDFIs from across the country, and this year, Cynthia Garcia from the AHSTI, was chosen as a fellow.  </p><p>It is exciting to learn that other traditional financial institutions are also supporting CDFIs to build capacity. For example, in Bloomington, Indiana, PNC Bank provided seed funding for a recently launched pilot program called "<a href="">CDFI Friendly City</a>".  This program incentivizes CDFIs to come to Bloomington with $2 million in public funding that can be used to leverage private capital. The Mayor of Bloomington, John Hamilton, is behind this push for a new approach to financing community development. Using public funding to attract investors is a creative approach for small communities that may not have the resources to support a "stand-alone" CDFI. Mayor Hamilton says that $2 million in public funding would "leverage at least $4 million from outside private investors." </p><p>Another creative way for mainstream financial institutions to support CDFIs was demonstrated by <a href="/impact/Pages/BlogDetail.aspx?BlogID=38">Regions Bank</a> in 2015. They donated two empty branch locations to HOPE Credit Union, a certified CDFI, along with a $500,000 grant to support its operations in rural Mississippi. These branches are both located in areas with high poverty and unemployment rates. By helping establish critical infrastructure to aid struggling communities, Regions helped keep a community alive.</p><p>It wasn't until long after I had moved away from Roma, Texas, and began working in the financial services industry, that I became aware that I had grown up in an underserved community. Not because I was unaware of the poverty, but because I was aware of the wealth of spirit and determination of those around me. It is that same spirit that makes CDFIs succeed and continue to grow, but not without the help of traditional financial institutions investing and supporting CDFIs across America.  </p><p>So now you know that there are music CDs, Certificates of Deposits and Community Development Financial Institutions, and it is music to my ears hearing that another traditional financial institution is investing in CDFIs. </p></div>Judy J. Chapa2018-04-17T14:45:00ZCommunity Development Advisory Board49GP0|#6977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9;L0|#06977010d-91c8-405e-8f44-4df9b1fb4ec9|Bank Enterprise Award Program;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#0760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1;L0|#00760f5d5-6360-4d45-ba32-761ff5345cd1|CDFI Program;GP0|#6c6d17ef-fcb5-4e67-b444-d90ca9e01872;L0|#06c6d17ef-fcb5-4e67-b444-d90ca9e01872|Banks