Community Scope

Volume 4, Issue 1 2016

Community Scope 2016 Issue 1

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Community Development department  conducts a biennial survey of community development financial institutions  (CDFIs) in the Southeast region of the United States. This issue of Community  Scope uses the results of the 2015 survey to present timely key findings on  CDFI activity in the Southeast, including capitalization, demand, capacity,  non-lending programs and services, and impact investing. We find growing demand  for the products and services offered by CDFIs, including small business loans,  financial education and technical assistance. CDFIs, however, continue to face  financial constraints in responding to this demand.


Community Development Financial Institutions in the Southeast: Surveying the Social Investment Landscape

Article by: Emily Wavering

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Community Development department  conducts a biennial survey of community development financial institutions  (CDFIs) in the Southeast region of the United States. This issue of Community  Scope uses the results of the 2015 survey to present timely key findings on  CDFI activity in the Southeast, including capitalization, demand, capacity,  non-lending programs and services, and impact investing. We find growing demand  for the products and services offered by CDFIs, including small business loans,  financial education and technical assistance. CDFIs, however, continue to face  financial constraints in responding to this demand.

Defining CDFIs

CDFIs are organizations that provide financial products and services to individuals and businesses in markets that lack access to traditional financing.1 Such markets may include individuals and families in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities, women- and minority-owned businesses, and start-up businesses. CDFIs often aim to generate a specific social impact, such as fostering economic development, supporting small business growth or increasing access to affordable housing. CDFIs, like their traditional financial institution counterparts, include a number of different types of institutions and vary in the products and services they provide. Table 1 provides a description of each type of CDFI and the typical products and services provided by each.

Table 1: Types of CDFIs

SOURCE: URVI NEELAKANTAN, LISA HEARL AND KIMBERLY ZEULI, “CDFIS IN THE SOUTHEAST,” FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND COMMUNITY SCOPE 1 (1) (2010); “SECTORS OF THE CDFI INDUSTRY,” OPPORTUNITY FINANCE NETWORK.

The federal government provides certification for CDFIs through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund, which was established in 1994 and now certifies nearly 1,000 CDFIs nationwide. While CDFIs do not need certification from the CDFI Fund to be classified as such, certification allows CDFIs to participate in CDFI Fund-administered programs that provide financial and technical support. Table 2 details the supportive programs run by the CDFI Fund.

Table 2: Programs of the CDFI Fund

SOURCE: “PROGRAMS,” U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TREASURY CDFI FUND, 2015.


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