By building the capacity of a nation-wide network of specialized financial institutions serving economically distressed communities, low-income people are empowered to enter the financial mainstream. The community-based organizations that make this possible are called Community Development Financial Institutions—or CDFIs—and they are dedicated to serving market niches that are often underserved by traditional financial institutions. The first step to utilizing many of the CDFI Fund’s programs is CDFI Certification.
Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Certification is a designation given by the CDFI Fundto specialized organizations that provide financial services in low-income communities and to people who lack access to financing. CDFIs include regulated institutions such as community development banks and credit unions, and non-regulated institutions like loan and venture capital funds. By building the capacity of a nationwide network of CDFIs, the CDFI Fund works to empower low-income and underserved people and communities to enter the financial mainstream.
Certified CDFIs are eligible to apply for awards through a variety of programs offered by the CDFI Fund. These awards enable CDFIs to finance a wide range of activities—including mortgage lending for first-time homebuyers, flexible underwriting for community facilities, and commercial loans for businesses in low-income areas. Through varying strategies, each CDFI contributes to the cultivation of a healthy and stable local economy.
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