Mary Scott Balys
On March 11, President Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law. One significant provision of the bill for CDFIs is $10 billion in funding for the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). SSBCI is a successful program from the Obama era that increased access to credit and capital for small businesses.
During the last round of funding for this program, some states worked closely with CDFIs and were able to reach underserved businesses. With the Biden Administration’s renewed focus on underserved communities, there will be significant opportunity for CDFIs to work with their states during the SSBCI implementation process.
The 2021 SSBCI program includes set asides for underserved businesses, additional boosts in funding for states that demonstrate an ability to reach underserved communities, and set asides for very small businesses and for tribal governments. All of these provisions align with CDFI areas of expertise and will provide an opportunity for them to partner with state governments.
OFN will be paying close attention to the implementation of the program by the U.S. Treasury Department and each state and advocating for maximum CDFI participation.