CDFI Certification

Step 2: Application Process

An entity seeking certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) must submit a CDFI Certification Application through the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS).

On December 7, 2023 the CDFI Fund released a revised CDFI Certification Application and related data collection tools. Organizations will be able to submit the revised Certification Application in AMIS beginning December 20, 2023. At this time, only non-certified organizations are able to submit a new CDFI Certification Application (Note: Non-certified organizations includes all organizations that are currently NOT Certified CDFIs).

The CDFI Fund is instituting a phased approach for organizations seeking to become newly Certified or renew their CDFI Certification.

Non-Certified Organizations

Only non-certified organizations will be able to immediately apply for CDFI Certification. When the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS) reopens for submission of the CDFI Certification Application, only those entities that are currently not certified will be initially eligible to submit a Certification Application. For those non-certified organizations interested in submitting an Application for CDFI Certification, the CDFI Fund will reopen the CDFI Certification Application AMIS submission portal on December 20, 2023.

Existing CDFIs

All currently Certified CDFIs will be required to reapply for Certification using the revised version of the Certification Application by December 20, 2024 (Note: Currently Certified CDFIs are those organizations that have CDFI Certification status as of the date the new CDFI Certification Application opens in AMIS on December 20, 2023). Until this date, currently Certified CDFIs will: 1) retain their status as Certified CDFIs; and 2) remain eligible to apply for all CDFI Fund programs where CDFI Certification is an eligibility requirement—provided they abide by ACR reporting requirements and have no material event affecting their CDFI Certification status.

  • General Reapplication Submission Deadline. All currently Certified CDFIs are required to reapply for CDFI Certification utilizing the revised Application, which must be submitted between August 1, 2024 – December 20, 2024. Organizations that do not submit an Application by 11:59 pm Eastern Time on December 20, 2024 will lose their CDFI Certification. The CDFI Fund will begin reviewing these submissions on a rolling basis after December 20, 2024. . It is the intent of the CDFI Fund to complete reviews on all general Certification Application reviews by December 20, 2025.

    As noted above, during this intervening time period—between the opening of the AMIS Application submission portal and December 20, 2024—currently Certified CDFIs will be in a grace period. During the grace period, they will remain Certified. After submission of an Application to recertify, CDFIs will still retain their Certified status unless they receive specific notification from the CDFI Fund that they were decertified.
     
  • Early Reapplication Submission. (Updated 5/1/2024)
    In order to manage the flow of recertification Applications and expedite recertification determinations, the CDFI Fund offered 700 slots for currently Certified CDFIs that would like to voluntarily submit a revised Application to recertify before the December 20, 2024 general submission deadline. Certified CDFIs that submit their recertification applications during this period will receive an earlier determination on their recertification application.

    To apply early, currently Certified CDFIs were required to notify the CDFI Fund of their intent to submit an early reapplication by February 1, 2024. Early reapplications must be submitted between June 17, 2024, and July 31, 2024. It is the intent of CDFI Fund will provide determinations via AMIS on all early Certification reapplication submissions by October 31, 2024.  

    Currently Certified CDFIs that reapply by the early reapplication submission deadline that are unsuccessful in retaining the CDFI Certification based on their early Application submissions will not be automatically terminated. They will retain their CDFI Certification status through the end of the submission grace period of December 20, 2024. However, if unsuccessful in early submission a CDFI must follow the general reapplication submission process to remain Certified, as specified above.
     

Transaction Level Reporting Modifications

Under the revised CDFI Certification policies, all new Applicants as well as all currently Certified CDFIs will be required to submit a Transaction Level Report (TLR), both as part of an initial Certification Application and then on an annual basis as part of their Annual Certification and Data Collection Report (ACR) submission package. 

New Applicants will complete and submit an abbreviated version of the TLR—which has fewer data fields than the full-length version—prior to the submission of their CDFI Certification Application. This abbreviated TLR will be used to assess compliance with applicable Target Market percentage benchmarks in the Applicant’s proposed Target Market(s). In this abbreviated TLR, Applicants must report on origination activity for their most recently completed fiscal year prior to the submission of their Certification Application. 

The version of the TLR submitted by Certified CDFIs—whether in reapplying for Certification or as part of their ACR—will vary by award status. CDFIs with an active Assistance Agreement (for a CDFI Program, NACA Program, CDFI RRP, or CDFI ERP award) will continue to submit the full-length version of the TLR which will be used to satisfy the TLR requirement of the Certification Application as well as the ACR. CDFIs that do not have an active Assistance Agreement will submit the new abbreviated version of the TLR to satisfy the TLR requirement of the Certification Application as well as the ACR.

The CDFI Fund has developed guidance and information materials below to help you understand the new CDFI Certification Application requirements and policies, as well as how to apply for Certification. Material and information related to previous rounds of requests for comments on the CDFI Certification Application and related tools, as well as updates related to this process can be accessed on the CDFI Fund website here.

Questions regarding the CDFI Certification Application should be directed to the Office of Certification Policy and Evaluation (OCPE) via an AMIS Service Request (preferred), by email to ocpecert@cdfi.treas.gov, or by phone to (202) 653-0423. 

AMIS related training manuals can be found on the CDFI Fund’s AMIS page at amis.cdfifund.gov.

Entities should review applicable CDFI Fund program application, guidance materials, Notices Funding Availability (NOFAs) and Notices of Guarantee Availability (NOGAs) for requirements related to CDFI Certification.
 

APPLICATION TIMELINE

DateDescription
December 20, 2023AMIS CDFI Certification Application Submission Opens for new CDFI Certification Applicants
February 1, 2024, 11:59 PM ET  Deadline to submit an AMIS Service Request for an early Certification reapplication submission
June 17, 2024 to 
July 31, 2024, 11:59 PM ET
Early Certification reapplication period in AMIS
August 1, 2024 to 
December 20, 2024, 11:59 PM ET
General Certification reapplication period in AMIS

December 21, 2024, 12:00 AM ET                       
CDFI Certification reapplication grace period expires

 

Questions?

Questions regarding CDFI Certification may be directed to the CDFI Fund by e-mail to OCPECert@cdfi.treas.gov; via an AMIS Service Request; or by phone to (202) 653-0423. Please note this is not a toll-free number. Questions regarding the ACR may be directed to FS&R by e-mail to CDFI-FinancialStrategiesandResearch@cdfi.treas.gov.