Freedman's Bank Forum 2021

Biden-Harris Administration Announce $8.7 Billion investment in CDFIs and MDIs

Sacha Adorno

On December 14, the U.S. Treasury Department announced the deployment of more than $8.7 billion in investments in CDFIs and MDIs through the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP). The investment aims to increase lending to small and minority-owned businesses, and low- and moderate-income consumers in underserved rural, urban, and Native communities.

The CDFIs and MDIs receiving ECIP investment are headquartered in 36 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam. Approximately 54 percent are banks and 46 percent are credit unions. The ECIP investments will range in size from over $200 million to less than $100,000. Of these 186 institutions, 12 are OFN member CDFIs:

  • Alternatives Federal Credit Union
  • City First Broadway Bank (Broadway Financial Corporation)
  • Community Capital Bank of Virginia (VCC Bank)
  • Hope Credit Union
  • Latino Community Credit Union
  • Local Government Federal Credit Union
  • Lower East Side People’s Federal Credit Union
  • One Detroit Credit Union
  • Opportunities Credit Union
  • Self-Help Credit Union
  • Self-Help Federal Credit Union
  • Southern Bancorp

Freedman’s Bank Forum

The announcement came during the Treasury Department’s Freedman’s Bank Forum, an event named for Freedman’s Savings and Trust Company, which was established in 1865 to provide newly emancipated Black Americans with finance institutions to support their transition to freedom. 

Along with the ECIP news, the daylong Forum featured Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Vice President Kamala Harris in robust conversation. Moderated by Janice Bowdler, Treasury’s newly appointed counselor for racial equity, they talked about the Biden-Harris Administration’s intentional focus on removing capital access barriers for rural, urban, and Native communities historically underserved by mainstream banks and finance institutions.

So, here’s the bottom line: I believe that when we unlock the economic power of every community in America, there is nothing we cannot achieve in America.  When we unlock that power, our families will be more secure, our businesses will be more successful, and our nation will be more competitive.

When every community reaches its full potential, so too does America.”

– Vice President Harris

The event also included a panel discussion on Transforming Community Capital Delivery with Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo; Google CFO Ruth Porat; Latino Community Credit Union President Luis Pastor; Harbor Bank CEO Joseph Haskins; and Urban Institute CEO Sarah Wartell. The group made the case for strengthening and scaling CDFIs and MDIs to advance racial, social, and economic equality and build the economy nationwide.

Attending the event were CEOs and finance and civil rights leaders, among them OFN’s President and CEO Lisa Mensah. They participated in breakout executive roundtables on topics like Homeownership and the Racial Wealth Divide, Generating Opportunities through Service Provider and Supplier Diversity, Opportunities for Public-Private Partnership, and more.

Watch the full event, including remarks by Mensah (3:52), who said, “With more capital and allies like those here today, I am optimistic we can take our nation closer to realizing its promise of equality and opportunity for all.”

Ambassador Susan Rice closed the program, ushering out the day with these words:

CEOs and small business owners. Community lenders. Philanthropists. Civil rights organizations. Local officials. Together, we can advance greater equity and help enable every American, no matter their race or their zip code, to rise and thrive in this great country.”

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