OFN President Addresses CDFI Fund Community Advisory Board

Jennifer A. Vasiloff

On August 27, the CDFI Fund’s Community Advisory Board held a virtual meeting where OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah spoke to the group, joining leaders from other CDFI membership associations on a panel to discuss “CDFI Response to Economic Impact of the Pandemic.”

The CDFI Fund’s Community Advisory Board provides guidance to the CDFI Fund Director and is made up of private and public sector representatives appointed by the President. At the meeting, the board adopted subcommittee recommendations related to CDFI certification and persistent poverty counties. They also heard a brief report from current CDFI Fund Director Jodie Harris.

During her presentation and in answering questions from Board members, Lisa pressed the Fund to show more “across the board” flexibility in dealing with compliance issues related to COVID-19. In particular, she reinforced the recommendations made by OFN and the major CDFI membership associations to create a temporary target market designation for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and other COVID-19 small business loans.

Without a change in CDFI Fund policy, the certification of some CDFIs may be at risk because they stepped up during a national emergency to administer a federal initiative to help small businesses survive.

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