On February 9, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development held a hearing entitled, “The Role that Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions Serve in Supporting Communities.” Among the witnesses for the hearing were leaders representing depository CDFIs:
- Robert James II, President & CEO, Carver Financial Corporation and National Bankers Association
- Jeanne Kucey, President & CEO, JetStream Federal Credit Union on behalf of the National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions
During the hearing, policymakers demonstrated bipartisan support for the CDFI industry and discussed the critical role of CDFIs in delivering COVID relief to underserved communities.
Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) discussed the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) program passed in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the record $12 billion in CDFI investments authorized in previous COVID relief bills.
Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) questioned witnesses on how they were able to overcome initial inequities plaguing some COVID relief programs, while also highlighting the work of OFN member New Jersey Community Capital in raising capital to combat environmental challenges and climate change.
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) discussed the role that CDFIs play in increasing the supply of safe, affordable housing and highlighted the work of OFN member Worcester Community Housing Resources. Senator Warren also mentioned the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act legislation that would invest $25 billion in the CDFI Fund’s Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) to combat the nation’s affordable housing crisis.
Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) questioned witnesses on current barriers for underserved communities in accessing capital. Senator Tester continued by spotlighting the work that CDFIs and MDIs are carrying out in Montana, which includes deploying COVID relief resources, supporting homeownership through down payment assistance programs, and building new community facilities throughout the state.
Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) noted how the proposed Build Back Better legislation could provide more resources to the CDFI industry and asked witnesses to discuss the impact that the legislation would have on their communities in tandem with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and ARPA if passed into law.
This hearing is one of several Senate Banking Committee hearings focused on CDFIs in the 117th Congress. The Committee’s first hearing of 2022 featured three CDFI leaders testifying before the Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development.
OFN is pleased to see the Senate Banking Committee’s continued focus on highlighting the significant role of CDFIs in building a more inclusive economy.