CDFI Impact Blog



CDFI Innovation and Impact in the Delta Innovation and Impact in the Delta<div class="ExternalClassD375CE71D6BB4A59B94E4E80578034B8"><p>The Delta region is a very special place in America. Covering more than 250 counties from the tip of Illinois, south to Mississippi, and east into Alabama, the eight-state Delta region is home to ten million people. Its residents are hard-working, resilient, and creative people who care deeply about their communities. The Delta Region is also characterized by persistent and pervasive economic distress—with poverty rates three times the national average and unemployment that is double the national average.</p><p>The CDFI Fund’s programs have played a substantial role in providing access to capital and credit for a variety of critical community needs throughout the Delta region. To date, the NMTC Program has spurred more than $3.3 billion of investment into 345 projects and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) have loaned or invested more than $5 billion throughout the region. CDFI Fund investments have supported a variety of affordable housing, small business and entrepreneurship, financial education and counseling, and commercial development in the Delta. For a snapshot of the CDFI Fund’s impact in the region, <a href="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/delta.jpg" target="_blank">click here</a>. </p><p>I have often stated that for the CDFI Fund to be successful in its mission, CDFIs of all types and sizes are needed to address the variety of challenges and obstacles facing communities across the country. The greatest impact can be achieved when CDFIs work in collaboration with a diverse array of organizations in collective pursuit of community and economic revitalization. </p><p>Supporting a diversity of organizations, strategies, and collaborations is critically important in the Delta region. I recently had the opportunity to tour the Delta with certified CDFI Hope Credit Union to see first-hand an array of unique initiatives they have supported in an effort to improve lives in economically distressed parts of the region. Hope Credit Union indicates it has generated over $2 billion in financial and related services for the unbanked and underbanked, entrepreneurs, homeowners, nonprofit organizations, healthcare providers, and other community development purposes. Here is what I saw:</p><hr /><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/bynum.jpg" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Hope Credit Union CEO Bill Bynum outside Moorhead, MS branch.</p><p style="width:48%;text-align:center;font-size:9pt;margin-right:1%;margin-bottom:0.5em;float:left;"> <img src="/SiteCollectionImages/Project%20Images/social%20suds.png" alt="" style="width:100%;" />Social Suds co-locates key social services at a community facility.</p><p style="clear:both;"> </p><hr /><p> <b>Crosstown Concourse</b> in Memphis, Tennessee has special significance for me in that it was the <a href="/impact/Pages/BlogDetail.aspx?BlogID=7" target="_blank">very first site </a>I toured upon becoming Director of the CDFI Fund. I was there for the project groundbreaking in 2015. It was inspiring to go back this year to see the progress that has been made. Financed with $56 million in NMTCs from multiple CDEs (Mid-City Community CDE, DV Community Investment, Low-Income Investment Fund, SunTrust CDE, MidWest Renewable Capital, and National Trust Community Investment Corporation), Crosstown is a mixed-use redevelopment of a former retail distribution center. Billed as a “vertical urban village,” it will provide one million square feet of retail space (including a grocery store), restaurants, health clinic, charter high school, art center, commercial offices, and affordable housing. At a total development cost of over $290 million, projected community benefits include the creation of at least 500 permanent jobs and the generation of more than $37 million new wages annually in an area experiencing a 32.9 percent poverty rate and an unemployment rate of 9.4 percent. To support its strategy of increasing access to the banking system for underserved populations, Hope Credit Union will have a branch located in Crosstown Concourse. The project is an exemplar of what can be achieved when a community comes together, and when CDFIs and CDEs work hand-in-hand.</p><p> <b>My Cup of Tea and The House at Orange Mound.</b><a href="" target="_blank"> The House at Orange Mound </a>is a resource center for women in the Orange Mound community in Southeastern Memphis. Developed in the late 1800s, Orange Mound is one of the oldest African American neighborhood in the United States. The community experienced challenges and decay through the 1970s and 1980s, but community-led revitalization efforts have begun to reinvigorate this area. Working with women from the Orange Mound community, volunteers and staff teach computer literacy, child-rearing education, GED training, job readiness, cooking, sewing, gardening, and other domestic skills to women who have limited knowledge and marginal exposure to home economics, parenting models, and employment. An initiative of the House at Orange Mound, My Cup of Tea is a small business that packages and distributes tea and provides area women job skill training, mentoring and valuable experience running a small business. To enhance economic inclusion opportunities, Hope Credit Union supports Orange Mound efforts by providing financial education and on-site account opening to program participants.</p><p> <b>Social Suds Resource Center</b> is a laundromat managed by the <a href="" target="_blank">South Memphis Alliance</a>. The South Memphis Alliance (SMA) opened in 2000 to help organize neighborhood associations in the urban communities of South Memphis. Over time, SMA expanded to serve youth in foster care and families in need. Located next door to the SMA office, <a href="" target="_blank">Social Suds </a>provides a space for families to receive information from non-profit and government agencies while utilizing the facility. Again, as part of its economic inclusion activities, Hope Credit Union provides financial education and on-site account openings to SMA clients as part of a one-stop model for community services. </p><p>These businesses and projects are but a few of the many community revitalization and economic development initiatives that CDFIs and CDEs support in the Delta region on an ongoing basis. The CDFI Fund is proud to serve as a partner and facilitator in the continuing efforts to invest in community and economic development opportunities throughout the Delta region.</p><p> <i>Annie Donovan is Director of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund</i></p></div>Annie Donovan2017-09-01T16:00:00ZLocal Impact35GP0|#1df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee;L0|#01df1c2cf-45f2-4333-8365-93be361333ee|Mississippi;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#7b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb;L0|#07b1b324b-5c91-4ed6-af66-b40a11835afb|Credit Unions;GP0|#6739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7;L0|#06739e502-ad8d-4e57-bade-8d5d363e66c7|In the Field
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