From left to right Terry Ludwig, President & CEO of Enterprise Community Partners, Catherine Godschalk, Vice President, Investments of Calvert Impact Capital, Maurice Jones, President & CEO of LISC,  and Jennifer A. Vasiloff, Chief External Affairs Officer of OFN at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors Board room in Washington, DC.  


On October 23, OFN was invited to brief the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Jerome Powell, on the state of community development finance, and to provide recommendations for reforming the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Vice Chair Richard Clarida attended the meeting with Chairman Powell along with leaders from Calvert Impact Capital, Enterprise Community Partners and Local initiatives Support Corporation.  

OFN’s Chief External Affairs Officer, Jennifer A. Vasiloff, accompanied by OFN’s Vice President of Research, Lance Loethen, represented OFN at the meeting. Vasiloff shared data from OFN’s annual membership survey with the Governors as she described the role CDFIs play in serving the capital and credit needs of low-wealth communities and why changes to the Community Reinvestment Act regulations could greatly impact the CDFI industry’s work. 

During the meeting Vasiloff said, “While CDFI loan funds have successfully diversified their capital sources since inception, their largest source of borrowed capital – 56% in 2016 - comes from banks seeking CRA credit. With the capital raised from banks and other sources, CDFIs in OFN’s membership have originated $65 billion in financing in urban, rural and native communities through 2017. Forty percent of OFN member lending occurs in persistent poverty census tracts. These are loans and investments that would not be made but for CDFIs’ mission driven business model.”

Vasiloff concluded “CRA modernization offers the prospect of expanding beneficial CDFI/bank relationships or, on the flip side, shutting them down. OFN strongly urges the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and other bank regulators to carefully consider how changes to the CRA regulations could impact the CDFI industry both positively and negatively.”  

Please take advantage of the public comment period underway to share your perspective on the critical importance of the Community Reinvestment Act. More information and sample comments are available here. The deadline for submitting comments is November 19

 

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