Better Consumer Protections and Fair Lending Practices (2023 Public Policy Update)

A Modernized CDFI Fund Certification and Programs

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OFN is backing efforts to establish guardrails for financial institutions that seek the coveted CDFI certification.

Throughout 2023, the OFN policy team has been working hard to advocate for and represent mission lenders on Capitol Hill and beyond. With Washington slowing down in August while Congress is in recess, we are taking stock of our progress. 

We are sharing a series of updates across all OFN federal policy priorities that advance our shared 2023 policy agenda.

OFN has been all over Washington, meeting on Capitol Hill, with the Office of the Vice President, and with CDFI leaders to ensure the CDFI Fund stays on track with long-planned reforms to CDFI certification. We’re firm backers of this effort, especially given the recent influx of funding to the industry, to establish the right guardrails for financial institutions seeking the coveted certification credential.  

With the help of OFN board member David Beck and the Center for Responsible Lending, we organized a sign on letter to members of the Senate Community Development Finance Caucus, rallying support for modernizing CDFI certification. We’re frequently on the Hill reinforcing our position and addressing questions from policymakers. 

Leaders of CDFI state coalitions meeting with Senate Community Development Finance Caucus staff on Capitol Hill

Leaders of CDFI state coalitions meet with Senate Community Development Finance Caucus staff on Capitol Hill

Earlier this summer, OFN Board Chair Donna Gambrell and former CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan coauthored an op-ed in American Banker. The message? It’s time to move forward with these long overdue reforms to CDFI certification.  

Reforms to Flagship Programs

Certification is not the only place where OFN is weighing in on the CDFI Fund. Recently, the CDFI Fund issued a request for information regarding their financial and technical assistance programs. OFN facilitated two webinars with members, grouping them by asset size to better collect feedback from both small and large CDFIs in our network. 

We then consulted with the Native CDFI Network, the Disability CDFI Finance Coalition, Partners for Rural Transformation, and others, to shape our comments, which we submitted in May.  

Right now there is an open comment period on the Capital Magnet Fund. OFN plans to submit comments and is currently working with the Capital Magnet Fund Coalition and our members to shape our response.  

This is OFN’s public policy mission in action. As our members’ voice in Washington, we are laser-focused on advocating for and influencing policies that support CDFIs and help drive capital where it’s needed most. Join us.

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