OFN Board of Directors Visits Our Nation’s Capital

Jamal Habibi

During their May 14th visit to Washington, D.C., OFN’s Board of Directors hit the ground running by holding 17 meetings with federal policymakers. Board members met with four U.S. Senators, four senior federal agency officials, and numerous legislative staffers. Key programs and policies raised during the meetings included the CDFI Fund, Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), Housing Finance Reform, and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Community Advantage and Microloan Programs.

Congressional Engagement

In addition to meeting with legislative staff in the House and Senate, OFN’s Board of Directors met with Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Chris Coons (D-DE). Each Senator discussed financing challenges within their home states and shared the importance of CDFI lending in their under-resourced communities. OFN Board members provided an overview of their respective CDFIs and advocated for $300 million in funding for the CDFI Fund in FY 2020.

Following the Board visit, Senator Coons (D-DE) echoed his support for the CDFI Fund during a Senate Appropriations Hearing, where he stated that “the ability to raise private sector investment is greatly enhanced by funding of the CDFI Financial Assistance Awards and the availability of those awards have made it possible for CDFIs to finance projects and businesses in the most rural and under-resourced communities in America.”

Federal Agencies

The Board also met with key federal agencies including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, SBA, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Board members urged agency officials to ensure that any reforms to policies or programs must drive private and federal investments in lower- and moderate-income communities, encourage and increase small business lending activities, and ensure affordable housing and homeownership in all markets