These questions and answers highlight key issues and topics related to the policy and procedures concerning the CDFI Fund Certification blackout period. They are intended only as general information.
CDFI Fund Certification Blackout Period Frequently Asked Questions
When did the CDFI Fund stop accepting new CDFI Certification Application and Target Market modifications? When will the blackout period end?
The CDFI Fund paused acceptance of new CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market modification requests on October 1, 2022. The CDFI Fund will resume accepting new CDFI Certification Application submissions and Target Market modification requests when the new CDFI Certification Application is deployed.
Why did the CDFI Fund pause acceptance of new CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market modifications?
The blackout period is needed to allow the CDFI Fund time to adjudicate comments that it received during the new Certification Application public comment submission process; build and test the new Application and its related reporting tools in the Awards Management Information System (AMIS); and review pending CDFI Certification Applications, Target Market modifications, and other tasks that must be completed prior to deployment of the new Application and its reporting tools.
In addition to CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market Modification Applications, the CDFI Fund will also discontinue monthly CDFI Certification Conference Calls during the blackout period, but will resume the calls once the blackout period ends.
When will currently Certified CDFIs need to comply with the revised CDFI Certification Application criteria and reporting requirements?
The CDFI Fund will implement a transition period for currently Certified CDFIs after the revised Application and reporting requirements are launched. Additional information regarding the exact date by which existing CDFIs will be required to comply with the revised CDFI Certification guidelines is forthcoming.
Who do I contact if I have a question about a CDFI Certification or Target Market Modification issue?
Any questions regarding CDFI Certification should be directed to the Certification, Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation Help Desk via an AMIS Service Request, via e-mail at email@example.com, or phone at (202) 653-0423.
Please do not submit multiple Service Requests for responses to the same questions. Due to the volume of incoming CDFI Certification and Target Market Modification Service Requests, responses to Service Requests will be delayed. However, the CDFI Fund is reviewing and responding to ALL incoming Service Requests, in turn.
Pending & New Application Submissions
Will the CDFI Fund communicate with CDFI Certification Applicants to provide clarifying information to help make its determination?
The CDFI Fund will not communicate with CDFI Certification Applicants to gather additional information to help make its determination. Any application that is incomplete or contains inaccurate information will automatically be rejected. Organizations whose applications are rejected for missing or inaccurate information will be required to submit a new application.
After the blackout period ends, will organizations be required to apply using the new CDFI Certification Application?
Yes. Once the blackout period ends and the intake of CDFI Certification Applications resumes, organizations without an existing CDFI Certification will be required to use the new CDFI Certification Application process.
My organization has not yet submitted a CDFI Certification Application. If an Application is submitted prior to the start of the blackout period, will it still be accepted and reviewed?
Yes. All CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market Modification Applications submitted through AMIS prior to the start of the blackout period on October 1, 2022 will be accepted and reviewed by the CDFI Fund.
Organizations seeking certification for the first time prior to the blackout period, under the current Certification requirements, will be required to submit a new CDFI Certification Application within 12 months to demonstrate compliance to the new policies. The CDFI Fund encourages new applicants to review the new policies during the Application preview and OMB 30 day comment period, prior to submitting the application to determine if it’s beneficial for your organization to become certified right now if it may not be able to maintain certification under the new policies.
If my organization currently has a pending CDFI Certification Application or Target Market Modification Application, when should I expect a determination?
The CDFI Fund is the process of evaluating all CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market Modification Applications that were submitted prior to October 1, 2022. The CDFI Fund anticipates completing these evaluations by May 31, 2023. On a case-by-case basis, there may be delays in delivering a determination to some organizations. Organizations should submit an AMIS Service Request for any questions related to the evaluation of a pending Application.
I submitted my CDFI Certification Application (or Target Market Modification Application) prior to the start of the blackout period, why is the CDFI Fund unable to commit to completing its review of the Application before April 3, 2023?
Due to the large number of CDFI Certification Applications and Target Market Modification Applications that have already been submitted and are pending review, coupled with the volume of these Applications that we expect to receive prior to the start of the blackout period on October 1, 2022, the CDFI Fund is unable to provide a specific deadline by when the CDFI Fund will complete evaluations for pending and incoming Applications.
Information on submitting a CDFI Certification Application can be found on the CDFI Fund website at www.cdfifund.gov/cdficert under How to Apply Step 1: Apply.
CDFI Fund Awards: Applications & Compliance
My organization has received an award, Allocation, or Bond Guarantee authority from one of the CDFI Fund’s programs. Does the pause affect my compliance reports?
The pause does not affect the submission of reports required by the Office of Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation. Organizations must remain in compliance with all outstanding CDFI Fund awards (including CDFI/NACA Program Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance, Bank Enterprise Award Program, Small Dollar Loan Program, Capital Magnet Fund, and Rapid Response Program awards), New Markets Tax Credit Allocations, or CDFI Bond Guarantee Program reporting requirements.
My organization has received a CDFI Program or NACA Program Technical Assistance award that requires us to submit a CDFI Certification Application during this pause period. How will the pause affect my award compliance?
The CDFI Fund is aware that some organizations are required to submit CDFI Certification Applications as part of their Performance Goal and Measures per the terms of their Assistance Agreements and may be affected by this pause. The CDFI Fund will amend Assistance Agreements to allow time for such organizations to be able to either: submit under the new CDFI Certification policies; or hold them harmless for not being able to meet the new CDFI Certification policies.
My organization has received a CDFI Program or NACA Program Financial Assistance award that requires us to modify our Target Market during this pause period. How will the pause affect my award compliance?
The CDFI Fund is aware that some organizations are required to submit Target Market Modification requests as part of their Performance Goal and Measures per the terms of their Assistance Agreements and may be affected by this pause. The CDFI Fund will either amend Assistance Agreements to allow time for such organizations to be able to submit a Target Market Modification request under the new CDFI Certification policies; or hold them harmless for not being able to meet the new CDFI Certification policies.
Community Development entity (CDE) Applications
The CDFI Fund’s Office of Certification Policy and Evaluation will still continue to accept and review applications for CDE certification and CDE Service Area Amendments throughout the blackout period.
Annual Certification And Data Collection Report (ACR) Submission
My organization is currently a certified CDFI and the deadline to submit its ACR falls during the blackout period. Are we required to submit an ACR during this time?
Yes. CDFIs are still required to submit an ACR in accordance with their existing ACR reporting schedule as listed in AMIS.
How does the pause affect an organization that is currently in a cure period under a 2021 or 2022 ACR Report?
If you are a CDFI that is currently in a cure period related to a 2021 or 2022 ACR Report Year submission, you are still obligated to adhere to the specific deadlines and deliverables associated with that cure requirement. Failure to do so can result in a loss of Certification during this blackout period.
If your organization is waiting to see if it will be placed in a cure period for a CDFI Certification-related issue, the CDFI Fund will communicate this determination through your organization’s AMIS account. However, during the blackout period the CDFI Fund will be prioritizing its work verifying remedies from those CDFIs in an existing cure period.
For those organizations currently in a cure period that need information on how to resolve Certification deficiencies, please refer to the communication from the CDFI Fund in your AMIS account. This notification provides detailed information on the specific actions that must be taken—and the associated deadlines—in order for your organization to satisfy the terms of the cure period.
The CDFI Fund held a cure period conference call on August 10, 2022, you can access the recording here. The call provided general information on how CDFIs can satisfy the terms of a cure and resolve Certification deficiencies during the coming CDFI Certification Application blackout period. Additional information on the cure period are located on the CDFI Certification Application & Data Collection Reporting Revisions page.