REPORT DETAILS WHAT SOFTWARE PROGRAMS CDFIs ARE USING

OFN’s CDFI Loan Fund Technology Landscape: User Survey Results report is now available for download.

Technology has become an essential tool in the support of CDFI operations, and CDFIs need to understand the performance factors of software programs used throughout the industry. Seth Julyan, OFN Senior Vice President of Membership, says the purpose of the survey is to collect useful information to help CDFI loan funds in making decisions about purchasing technology solutions. The report is based on data from a survey of 100 CDFI loan funds conducted by OFN in 2016.

Respondents identified software solutions important to loan funds in four areas—loan management, accounting, outcomes/outputs and customer relationship management—and provided user feedback on them.  

Seth notes that CDFI loan funds are the focus of the 2017 report because technology solutions are not tailored to their unique needs. CDFI banks and credit unions, on the other hand, are more regulated and there are more technology solutions available to accommodate their specific structures and goals.

Among the findings of the 2017 tech survey, which are similar to findings of the 2012 survey, CDFIs face challenges in selecting solutions. While respondents reported they are generally satisfied with accounting software, only 40% of respondents said they are very satisfied with their loan management software, and just 20% of respondents are very satisfied with their outcomes/outputs tracking software.

“CDFI Loan Funds are frustrated with loan management systems,” says Seth. “Software solutions do not reflect the flexibility and outcome tracking needs unique to loan funds. The CDFI industry is such a small market that technology providers aren’t developing.”

CDFI budgets aren’t large enough to accommodate bespoke solutions either: “Of the roughly 20% of the universe of certified loan funds captured in the survey, 60% had less than $10,000 in their budget dedicated to technology purposes. Nearly 80% have less than $20,000.” These values are below financial industry standard, says Seth, which indicates an imperative for CDFIs to carefully consider their technology purchases within their appropriate budget.

And like the innovation CDFIs bring to their work with clients, Seth says that, “CDFIs have to leverage creativity for their software solutions to make them work right now. This report will hopefully help CDFIs to really think of a way to identify what their technology needs are so tech providers can eventually meet them.”

The survey is free and available for download here.

Join OFN’s Knowledge Sharing team for a webinar on July 13, 1:00 PM-2:00 PM EST, to discuss the survey findings. Register here.

 

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