CDFI/CDE Certification

Providing access to affordable financial products and services in underserved communities is a vital part of the CDFI Fund’s mission. By building the capacity of a nation-wide network of specialized financial institutions serving economically distressed communities, low- income people are empowered to enter the financial mainstream.

Benefits of Certification

Certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) or Community Development Entity (CDE) allows an organization to apply for awards under the CDFI Fund’s competitive programs, including the Capital Magnet Fund, CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, Community Development Financial Institutions Program, and Native Initiatives (CDFI Certification) and the New Markets Tax Credit Program (CDE Certification). View the table to get an idea of which certification might be right for your organization, then follow the links below to learn more about CDFI and CDE Certification.

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CDFI vs CDE Certification

Certification Table


Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Certification is the U.S. Department of the Treasury's recognition of specialized financial institutions serving low-income communities. Through Certification, CDFIs are qualified to apply for technical assistance and financial assistance awards, as well as training provided by the CDFI Fund through the Capacity Building Initiative.



A Community Development Entity (CDE) is a domestic corporation or partnership that is an intermediary vehicle for the provision of loans, investments, or financial counseling in low-income communities. Certification as a CDE allows organizations to participate either directly or indirectly in the New Markets Tax Credit Program.