Small Dollar Loan Program

The Small Dollar Loan Program (SDL Program) is a new program authorized by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. The fiscal year (FY) 2021 funding round is the first award round of the program. The SDL Program was created to help Certified CDFIs address the issue of expanding consumer access to mainstream financial institutions and provide alternatives to high cost small dollar loans. The program was also created to help unbanked and underbanked populations build credit, access affordable capital, and allow greater access into the mainstream financial system.


Through the Small Dollar Loan Program, the CDFI Fund will award funds to:

  • Certified CDFIs; or 
  • Partnerships between a Certified CDFI and any Federally Insured Depository Institution with a primary mission to serve targeted Investment Areas; or 
  • Partnerships between two or more Certified CDFIs.

Please review the FY 2021 Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for additional important details about eligibility for this 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. 

SDL Program grants may only be used to support small dollar loan programs that offer small dollar loans to consumers that: 

  • are made in amounts that do not exceed $2,500;
  • must be repaid in installments;
  • have no prepayment penalty; and
  • have payments that are reported to a least one of the consumer reporting agencies that compiles and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis.

Small Dollar Loan Program grants cannot be used to provide direct loans to consumers.



The Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), instructions, and supplemental materials for the FY 2021 round of the Small Dollar Loan Program are below. These materials are intended to help you understand how to apply for a Small Dollar Loan Program award.

For those preparing to apply for the FY 2021 application round, the CDFI Fund provided a pre-application webinar on April 13, 2021. The webinar recording and presentation are available below.


If you have a question about the application process, you can contact the CDFI Fund’s Help Desk by submitting a Service Request through your AMIS account; by e-mail to; or by phone to (202) 653-0421 (please note this is not a toll free number).


Date Description

April 28, 2021

  FY 2021 Round Opening

May 28, 2021, 11:59 PM ET

  Deadline for Creating an AMIS Account

May 28, 2021, 11:59 PM ET

  Deadline to enter EIN and DUNS numbers in AMIS

May 28, 2021, 11:59 PM ET

  Deadline for Submitting SF-424 through

June 25, 2021, 5:00 PM ET

  Last Day the Small Dollar Loan Program Staff will Answer Questions About the Application

June 25, 2021, 5:00 PM ET

  Last Day to Contact Certification, Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation (CCME) Staff

June 29, 2021, 5:00 PM ET

  Deadline to Receive AMIS Support From the IT Help Desk

June 29, 2021, 5:00 PM ET  

  Deadline for Submitting SDL Program Application through AMIS


  FY 2021 SDL Program Awards Announced



The CDFI Fund is conducting 2 targeted live webinars to provide a forum to answer applicant questions about the FY 2021 SDL Program Application. Advance registration is not required to participate in the webinars. Access the webinars by clicking the below links 5 minutes before the webinars begin.

Viewing these webinars requires the use of WebEx. To download the WebEx Event Manager, see the instructions on the Verizon's WebEx Downloads page.


Webinar Topic Date and Time Conference Access Link

FY 2021 SDL Program Application Webinar 

May 12, 2021

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET

Call 1-800-369-1962

Conference number: PWXW2130342

Audience passcode: 8077515

Access Webinar

FY 2021 SDL Program Application Webinar

June 2, 2021

2:00 PM - 3:00 PM ET

Call 1-888-606-5953

Conference number: PWXW2150222

Audience passcode: 2078362

Access Webinar






The application materials for the FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Application are below. Applicants should continue to check this site for any updates. 


FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program NOFA
Updated – Apr 28, 2021

FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Pre-Application Overview
Updated – Apr 28, 2021

FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Application Instructions
Updated – Apr 28, 2021

FY 2021 Application Financial Data Input Excel Workbook – FOR REFERENCE ONLY
Updated – Apr 28, 2021

FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Updated – Apr 28, 2021

FY 2021 Small Dollar Loan Program AMIS Application Training Manual
Updated – Apr 28, 2021