Mary Scott Balys
On January 5, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development held a hearing entitled, “Exploring How Community Development Financial Institutions Support Underserved Communities.” The witnesses for the hearing were:
- John Holdsclaw IV, President, CDFI Coalition
- Frank Altman, Founder and CEO, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (OFN member)
- Lakota Vogel, Executive Director, Four Bands Community Fund (OFN member)
The witnesses each highlighted recommendations to the committee, including increased capital from the CDFI Fund, improvements to existing programs like the Bond Guarantee Program, and recommendations around the CDFI certification process.
Throughout the hearing, there was clear bipartisan support for several CDFI priority issues. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) expressed his support for making the New Markets Tax Credit permanent and asked each of the witnesses to discuss the benefits of making the program permanent. Senator Van Hollen (D-MD), who also chairs the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, talked about his work to increase funding for the CDFI Fund and asked the witnesses for their perspective on the implementation of the $1.25 billion Rapid Response Program (RRP) and the $9 billion Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP).
Senators Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-SD), who are the Chairwoman and Ranking Member respectively of the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development, spoke about their newly introduced bill to improve access to the Bond Guarantee Program and their bill to expand USDA’s Rural Development Section 502 Lending Pilot program.
This hearing builds on the Banking Committee’s previous hearings on CDFI issues over the past year, including hearings focused on housing, the partnerships between CDFIs and private capital, and investing in rural communities.