Partnering with the Public Sector
Public-Private Partnerships that Finance Opportunity
Economic opportunity is one cornerstone of a free and just nation and often starts with access to capital through a loan. Yet, millions of Americans can’t access traditional, fair financing because of discrimination or a lack of collateral. The lasting economic impact of the pandemic, a growing wealth gap, and persistent poverty have made it more challenging for low-income, low-wealth communities to borrow money from mainstream financial institutions.
Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) specialize in offering responsible capital to rural, urban, and Native communities underserved by mainstream finance.
A leading national network of CDFIs, Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) helps increase CDFI impact in low-income, low-wealth communities nationwide by advocating for federal policies that strengthen and scale the CDFI industry for greater impact.
“Every dollar injected into a CDFI catalyzes eight more dollars in private-sector investment.”
— Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen
OFN’s advocacy focuses on policies that ensure fair lending and financial inclusion, promote environmental justice, boost tax incentives to encourage community development, and drive capital to communities that banks and other mainstream financial institutions find risky or unprofitable.
The CDFI industry’s largest federal partner is the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund. With increased funding for CDFI Fund programs and broader federal partnerships, CDFIs can invest in more small businesses, affordable housing, infrastructure essentials, healthcare facilities, and other elements of thriving communities.
What’s the CDFI Fund? Learn more. | What is a CDFI? Learn more.
Voice of the Industry
Federal policy makers and Congressional Committees frequently invite OFN to advise or testify on matters critical to the CDFI industry and the rural, urban, and Native communities CDFIs serve.
CDFIs: Trusted Partners to Government
CDFIs tackle persistent poverty and racial and social inequity by driving capital to people and places that mainstream financial institutions consider risky investments.
For more than 35 years, CDFIs have enjoyed broad bipartisan support. CDFIs work with community stakeholders and policymakers to invest in small businesses, affordable housing, community facilities, health care, infrastructure, energy efficient development, and more.
CDFIs were critical to the federal government’s COVID-19 response. Outperforming larger lenders, CDFIs and other community financial institutions made more than $34 billion in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, far exceeding the $15 billion set aside by Congress for this purpose. The PPP experience demonstrates that when CDFIs are empowered with supportive policies and capital, they surpass other lenders in getting financing to the communities and borrowers that need it most.
Public Policy Advocacy Resources
For our members and other community development financial institution (CDFI) industry stakeholders, OFN offers advocacy toolkits and fact sheets about OFN’s membership and key policy priorities.
For more information about the fact sheets, contact the Public Policy team.
Advocate for CDFIs
OFN’s provides opportunities for grassroots engagement with issues that matter most to CDFIs. Visit our Policy Action Center for the most recent opportunity to make your voice heard!
Public Policy Communications
To get a deeper understanding of OFN’s positions on federal policies, regulations, and decisions, view the archive of our communications with Members of Congress, agencies, and regulators.
Connect with a member of our Public Policy team!
Topic Expertise: Small Business, Rural Development, Financial Inclusion, CDFI Fund Programs
Mary Scott Balys
Topic Expertise: Affordable Housing, Community Infrastructure, CDFI Fund Programs