CDFIs (community development financial institutions) are different kinds of lenders. We are private financial institutions that are located in rural, urban, and Native communities nationwide. We provide responsible, affordable loans to small businesses underserved by mainstream finance.
CDFIs are driven by a mission to provide financial opportunities to all people. CDFIs offer small business financing—with products ranging from relief and recovery loans to financing for working capital—as well as technical expertise to help you succeed.
CDFIs and COVID-19
CDFIs are also financial first responders in crisis. We have helped small businesses successfully navigate national emergencies and disasters, such as 9/11, the Great Recession, and Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are working with partners like Google, the Small Business Administration, and numerous foundations and banks to help America’s most at-risk businesses survive and, ultimately, recover from the crisis.
Where others see risk, we see opportunity: CDFIs specialize in serving business owners who may not qualify for a traditional business loan from a mainstream financial institution.
We also help businesses get out from under high payments from “predatory” payday, car title, and other high-cost, unscrupulous loans.
CDFIs drive an inclusive economy and will ensure a shared recovery. CDFIs lend to borrowers who are minority, female, underserved, and rural or do not have a relationship with a mainstream bank.
Read about CDFI borrowers on OFN’s borrower success stories page.
Find a CDFI
Each CDFI has an area of specialty. Some CDFIs work with small businesses, others work with housing developers, and many lend to build community facilities.
Follow these simple steps on the CDFI Locator* to get in touch with the right CDFI for you.
1) Select Your State.
Pick your state.
Many CDFIs are regional lenders, others serve primarily rural, urban, or Native communities.
2) Select the Right Lending Type.
Pick business or microenterprise.
Not all CDFIs offer the same types of loans!
3) Identify a CDFI and Prepare for the Conversation.
Once you’ve filtered based on your needs, visit the websites of all CDFI choices offered — understand what types of loans they offer, as well as the communities and geographies they serve.Email the CDFI you select.
Prepare to talk to a CDFI using the tab at the right of this page.
*The CDFI Locator member information is updated regularly. While OFN works hard to keep this database up-to-date, we strongly encourage you to visit the websites of CDFIs that fit your criteria for a deeper understanding of the products they offer and the communities they serve.
Meet with A CDFI
CDFIs offer financial products and services tailored to the individuals they serve.
For your first meeting, be prepared to discuss and share*:
Your Story. Are you an underserved borrower—minority, female, rural, veteran? Why are you contacting a CDFI? Have you already tried and been denied a bank loan? Do you know why? Are you concerned about predatory online lenders?
Needs for a Loan. Be as detailed as possible about your need for a loan, and the purpose of the loan.
Financial Documents and Information. Be prepared to share financial documentation, such as bank statements, tax returns, profit and loss statements, and a list of collateral.
*Each CDFI will have its own requirements and forms to complete — these are examples of the types of materials you may be asked to supply.