The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is soliciting public comment regarding the criteria to designate a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as a Minority Lending Institution (MLI).
Pursuant to Section 523 of Division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Act; Pub. L. 116-260), an MLI is a CDFI that (i) directs a majority of its financial products to Minority populations or communities; and (ii) either (a) is a Minority Depository Institution (MDI) or (b) demonstrates accountability to Minority populations. Although no federal funding will be associated with an MLI designation at this time, the CDFI Fund seeks to implement this designation for those CDFIs that wish to be recognized for their high levels of service and accountability to Minority populations, as well as to identify barriers such CDFIs experience in providing access to capital. Upon implementation of the final MLI designation criteria, the CDFI Fund will utilize the designation for limited purposes, including data collection and reporting.
Through this request for comment, the CDFI Fund seeks feedback from the public on certain aspects of the criteria and process the CDFI Fund will use to designate a CDFI as an MLI. The CDFI Fund also seeks any additional information that would be beneficial in establishing policies and procedures related to MLI designation. The CDFI Fund will consider the feedback received through this request for comment prior to establishing a final definition and designation process.
A complete list of the questions to which the CDFI Fund is seeking comment is contained in the Notice and Request for Public Comment published in the Federal Register on July 28, 2022.
Comments must be submitted in writing by 120 days after the date of publication of the Federal Register notice via the Federal Rulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions on this website for submitting comments.
Questions related to the Notice and Request for Public Comment can be directed to Jeff Merkowitz, Senior Advisor, CDFI Fund at MLI@cdfi.treas.gov. This email is for questions only; comments must be submitted to the Federal Rulemaking portal to be considered by the CDFI Fund.
Please note, any criteria the CDFI Fund develops for the designation of MLIs (or any eventual designation by a CDFI as an MLI) will play no role in award determinations made under the CDFI Equitable Recovery Program (CDFI ERP). The specific criteria and procedures utilized by the CDFI Fund to evaluate CDFI ERP Applications is detailed in the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). Nor will this designation affect or influence CDFI ERP post-award compliance reporting requirements.
In addition, as indicated in communications and Frequently Asked Questions that accompanied the opening of the CDFI ERP Application Round, no CDFI ERP funds are being set-aside to fund MLIs. The CDFI Fund is making available the full $1.75 billion authorized by the Act in a single program round for awards to all Certified CDFIs that meet the CDFI ERP eligibility criteria.
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