What is a CDFI?

  • CDFIs are helping people succeed when

  • others wouldn’t give them a chance.

Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) are private financial institutions that are 100% dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.

By financing community businesses—including small businesses, microenterprises, nonprofit organizations, commercial real estate, and affordable housing—CDFIs spark job growth and retention in hard-to serve markets across the nation.

CDFIs are profitable but not profit-maximizing. They put community first, not the shareholder. For more than 30 years, they have had a proven track record of making an impact in those areas of America that need it most.

The Four Sectors of the CDFI Industry

As with mainstream lenders, a variety of institutions has emerged to serve the broad range of needs in emerging domestic markets. Although they share a common vision of expanding economic opportunity and improving the quality of life for low-income people and communities, the four CDFI sectors—banks, credit unions, loan funds, and venture capital (VC) funds—are characterized by different business models and legal structures:

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Community Development Banks

Community Development Credit Unions

Community Development Loan Funds

Community Development Venture Capital Funds