Investment in economically distressed communities is critical to the revitalization of those areas. Through the Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA Program), the CDFI Fund provides monetary awards to FDIC-insured depository institutions (i.e., banks and thrifts) that successfully demonstrate an increase in their investments in CDFIs or in their own lending, investing, or service activities in the most distressed communities. BEA Distressed Communities are defined as those where at least 30 percent of residents have incomes that are less than the national poverty level and where the unemployment rate is at least 1.5 times the national unemployment rate.
Award amounts align with an applicant’s increase in Qualified Activities from one annual period to another—the greater the increase, the larger the overall award. Awards are prioritized based on the Qualified Activity type, the CDFI Certification status of the applicant, and the asset size of the applicant. BEA Program awards must be invested in future Qualified Activities. Leveraging BEA Program awards increases the flow of capital to the most distressed communities and creates sound and scalable economic ripple effects.
By multiplying the impact of federal investments with private dollars, the BEA Program increases investments in CDFIs, accelerates the growth of businesses, generates jobs, increases the availability and affordability of housing, improves access to financial products and services, and creates real change in the most distressed communities nationwide.
For more information, please see our
Bank Enterprise Award Program Fact Sheet (English /
FDIC-insured depository institutions are eligible to apply for a BEA Program award. There are three categories of Qualified Activities, which are listed below:
CDFI Related Activities: Provide equity investments, grants, equity-like loans, loans, deposits, and/or technical assistance to CDFIs. A list of certified CDFIs is available on the CDFI Certification webpage.
Distressed Community Financing Activities: Provide direct lending or investment in the form of affordable home mortgages, affordable housing development loans or investments, home improvement loans, education loans, small business loans or investments, small dollar consumer loans, commercial real estate development loans, or investments to residents or businesses located in distressed communities.
Service Activities: Provide access to financial products and services, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, check cashing, financial counseling, new banking branches, or individual development accounts to residents of distressed communities.
For more detailed information, please refer to the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA)