CDFI Working Group

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At ASBN, we are committed to elevating opportunities for individual investors to deploy capital for impact that aligns with the JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) focus of ASBN and other impact investors.  We are now excited to share this ground-breaking research on Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Loan Funds and highlight opportunities for individuals to invest capital in these mission-focused community lenders.

OVERVIEW

Through the Social Venture Circle network, we have showcased the work of all types of CDFIs: CDFI Credit Unions, Banks, Venture Funds, and Loan Funds.  CDFIs are financial intermediaries certified as mission-focused by the CDFI Fund, a program of the U.S. Department of Treasury.  A full listing of over 1,100 CDFIs in all 50 states can be found on the CDFI Fund website.  In addition, this paper includes a listing of trade associations and coalitions to learn more about specific types of CDFIs or areas of impact. A listing of these resources can also be found in this paper.  

In collaboration with SVC member and national expert on CDFIs, Pam Porter, we are pleased to publish this preliminary, robust listing of loan funds that accept investments from individuals.  In this report, we include an inventory of 60 CDFI Loan Funds that cover urban, rural, and Native communities headquartered in 30 states.  They focus on a range of impact areas including: 

  • Small business, especially entrepreneurs of color
  • Affordable housing for rent and ownership
  • Early childhood care and education
  • Healthcare and healthy food access
  • Resiliency in the face of climate change
  • Lending to individuals with disabilities and their families

Investments in loan funds that are 501(c)(3) non-profits often come in the form of private Notes with a fixed interest rate and term. About 60% of those listed in this paper provide opportunities for all individual investors, offering minimum investments of less than $5,000.00.  The remaining 40% restrict investments to accredited investors and have higher minimums.  On average, CDFIs report paying between 1.00%-3.00% interest for terms on the Notes of between one to seven years.  

We recognize that this inventory is a snapshot in time, and that the information will change.  We expect to update this list as we are notified by CDFIs and to issue a new survey annually, as long as there is interest.  In addition, we remind investors that CDFI Loan Funds are not regulated and do not have deposit insurance. All investors should conduct appropriate due diligence. We also note that by providing this information to SVC, Loan Funds are not soliciting investments.

Finally, we appreciate the collaboration on this project from the CDFI Community, including Opportunity Finance Network, the Native CDFI Coalition, CAMEO, and Wells Fargo Bank.

Disclaimer: We are not providing you with any legal, business, tax, or other advice in this briefing. You should consult your own advisors about any investment referred to in this briefing. You and the loan funds must comply with all laws and regulations that apply to any such investment. We have not reviewed any of these legal requirements and are not responsible for your compliance with these legal requirements. We are not making any representation to you regarding the legality of any investment under any law or regulation. The potential investments referred to in this briefing have not been recommended by any federal, state, or foreign securities authorities. Finally, we make no representation or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this briefing, which has been collected from third parties and has not been independently verified by us.

BACKGROUND

This initiative came about in 2020 as individual impact investors in the SVC network and its affiliated organizations sought ways to increase their impact on the social justice inequities exposed through civil unrest and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially across lower income and BIPOC communities.  SVC launched the Community Capital Working Group, led by New York Chapter Leader Babbie Jacobs, to identify practical ways for individuals to put money to work to support local communities.  One of the primary initiatives identified was to invest in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs).  

Philadelphia SVC member Pam Porter, a national expert on CDFIs offered to facilitate a series of webinars and to create resources to help individual investors learn more about CDFIs and identify opportunities to deploy investment capital. The initial education efforts focused on CDFI Banks and Credit Unions because these mission-driven financial entities were set up to take individual deposits that were insured by the FDIC or NCUA, providing a quick, safe, and impactful way to put funds to work to benefit underserved communities and populations. 

During a SVC Next Economy Live webinar in November 2020, representatives from Self-Help Federal Credit Union and Carver State Bank brought to life the ways that individual long-term relationship deposits could further the work of CDFI communities, especially in communities of color.

Providing opportunities for individuals to invest in Loan Funds, however, required original research, as there was no available listing of Loan Funds that accepted individual investments.  To collect this information, we launched a survey which was distributed through the SVC network, posted on the Opportunity Finance Network portal, and communicated via CDFI coalitions and by active investors.  A first draft of the inventory was posted publicly in January 2021 with requests for additions, deletions, and modifications. We also previewed the findings to the Native CDFI Coalition in January 2021 and updated it based on their feedback. In addition, based on conversations with impact investors, we conducted research on CDFIs that post public information about investment opportunities for individuals. 

MAKING YOUR INVESTMENTS IN CDFIs

Step 1: Find CDFIs in your market or that align with your interests

Determine your goals and align with CDFI target market (e.g., national, region, state, or city) or areas of focus (e.g. BIPOC Entrepreneurs, Native Communities, Disability, Housing, Healthcare, Healthy Food Access, Children, Energy Efficiency).

Develop a target investment list of CDFI Loan Funds, as well as CDFI Banks, Credit Unions, and Venture Funds that align with your goals. Use the resources listed below and the Loan Fund Inventory published in this report.

Step 2: Evaluate and Invest

For Loan Funds, determine which ones accept Individual Investments and whether those opportunities are limited to accredited investors using the inventory published in this report. 

Conduct due diligence by reaching out to the investment relations contact person for available documentation, such as recent audited financial statements or a prospectus. Look at their experience managing external investments, capital ratios, and loan portfolio performance. Also determine whether they have been rated by Aeris or S&P. For more on due diligence, SVC will be holding a webinar on this topic in 2021.

For CDFI Banks and Credit Unions, form a deposit relationship. These are insured up to the maximum allowed by law, currently $250,000.

Step 3: Support Philanthropically

All CDFIs welcome grant funding and donations to support education and other services provided to their community and borrowers

Introduce foundations to CDFIs for further grant or program related investments

RESOURCES

Investing in CDFI Loan Funds for Main

The Best Kept Secret in Community Investing

Main Street Lending & National CDFI Panel Discussion

HOW TO FIND A CDFI