FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Round Now Open for Applications

FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Round Now Open for Applications

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) opened the fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding round for the Small Dollar Loan Program (SDL Program) today. SDL Program funding is intended to expand consumer access to financial institutions by providing alternatives to high cost small dollar lending. The SDL Program funding is also intended to help unbanked and underbanked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and allow greater access into the mainstream financial system. For this program, small dollar loans are unsecured loans of up to $2,500.

The SDL Program is a new program authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The FY 2021 funding round is the first award round of the program. Through the SDL Program, the CDFI Fund will provide:

  1. Grants for Loan Loss Reserves (LLRs): The awards will enable a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to establish a loan loss reserve fund in order to defray the costs of establishing or maintaining a small dollar loan program.

  2. Grants for Technical Assistance (TA): The awards will support technology, staff support, and other eligible activities to enable a Certified CDFI to establish and maintain a small dollar loan program.

Up to $13.5 million in awards is available through the FY 2021 round of the program. Certified CDFIs may use these funds individually, or for LLRs through a partnership between a Certified CDFI and any Federally Insured Depository Institution with a primary mission to serve targeted Investment Areas, or for TA through a partnership between two or more Certified CDFIs. SDL Program awards may not be used to provide direct loans to consumers.

Please review the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) to learn more about the SDL Program. Additional details on how to apply to the program are available below.

Application Materials

Reference copies of the SDL Program NOFA and all application materials can be found on the SDL Program page on the CDFI Fund’s website.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read and view all application materials, including the NOFA, application guidance, webinars, and presentations.

Required Application Systems

All applicants must be registered and have active accounts in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS) to apply for funding by May 28, 2021, or their application will be considered ineligible. All applicants are also required to have the correct EIN and DUNS numbers attached to the relevant SAM.gov and AMIS accounts by May 28, 2021. As soon as possible, organizations should either create these accounts if they do not exist, or confirm that their existing accounts are up-to-date, in order to avoid potential application submission problems. Detailed information is available in the FY 2021 NOFA for the program.


  • Applicants must submit their SF-424 electronically via Grants.gov and create an AMIS account before 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 28, 2021.

    • SDL Program Grants.gov Funding Number: CDFI-2021-SDL

  • The complete SDL Program Application must be submitted electronically through AMIS before 5:00 p.m. ET on June 29, 2021.

  • The CDFI Fund strongly encourages all materials to be submitted at least three days before each corresponding deadline for Grants.gov and AMIS.

  • The CDFI Fund will not respond to any applicant questions about the SDL Program round after 5:00 p.m. ET on June 25, 2021. Technical support for AMIS will not be available after 5:00 p.m. ET on June 29, 2021.

Please see the NOFA for more information on submitting the SDL Program Application.

Learn About Applying to the Small Dollar Loan Program

The CDFI Fund is conducting two live webinars to inform applicants about the FY 2021 SDL Program Application. Please view the SDL Program webpage for the dates, times, and access information for each webinar. Advance registration is not required to participate in the webinars.

The CDFI Fund also held a pre-application webinar about the SDL Program on April 13, 2021. The recording and presentation from that webinar is also available on the CDFI Fund’s website.


The CDFI Fund will be answering questions about the FY 2021 SDL Program application until 5:00 p.m. ET on June 25, 2021. Contact the CDFI Fund’s Help Desk by submitting a Service Request through your AMIS account; by e-mail to cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov; or by phone to (202) 653-0421 (please note this is not a toll free number).

To learn more about the CDFI Fund and its programs, please visit www.cdfifund.gov.

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