Optima Beauty's owner Andy Hong smiling in the beauty store. He used financing from OFN member Accompany Capital to strengthen his business.

CDFI Key Priorities

CDFIs Lend Where it Counts

Economic opportunity is one cornerstone of a free and just nation. It often starts with access to capital through loans. These loans then support anchors of the vibrant communities where we all want to live: jobs, affordable housing and health centers, libraries and schools, and other essentials.

Yet, millions of bright, talented, hardworking Americans can’t access fair capital because of racial, social, economic, or geographic discrimination or because they don’t have experience or assets to leverage. The COVID-19 pandemic, a growing wealth gap, and persistent poverty have deepened these capital challenges, particularly for Black, Latino, Native, and rural communities.

We drive capital to people and places underserved by mainstream finance to support small businesses, affordable housing, community facilities, health care, energy efficient development, and more.

These challenges are the key priorities of CDFIs. We lend where it counts to help people start businesses, buy homes, and build wealth. Our investments in people and places help communities thrive.

A couple posing in front at the porch of a house

Affordable Housing

Across the U.S., millions of families are unable to afford a safe, decent, energy-efficient place to rent or buy. Quality stock doesn’t exist, or they are priced out of it. CDFIs finance affordable housing development and many offer home mortgages for people with low-incomes who dream of homeownership.

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A CDFI client was able to maintain her restaurant during the pandemic. CDFIs are financial first responders helping individuals, businesses, and communities.

Financial First Response

Nationwide, CDFIs are financial first responders that help small businesses, nonprofits, and homeowners survive the economic impact of natural and manmade disasters. Most recently, CDFIs were pivotal lenders during the pandemic.

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Climate Change and Resilience

Climate Change & Resilience

Low-income communities are unequally impacted by climate change. They are more likely to be exposed to climate change risks and are more susceptible to its damage. Many CDFIs finance climate change solutions, including sustainable businesses and energy efficiency upgrades and development.

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A market promoting healthy communities through the variety of healthy products it sells.

Healthy Communities

The pillars of healthy lives and communities are healthy food, accessible, affordable health care, and consumer-focused financial institutions. But nationwide many communities are healthy food, health care, and bank deserts. CDFIs use traditional and innovative solutions to bring these vital assets to communities needing them most.

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Key Priority: Native Finance

Native Finance

Indian country is extremely underserved by mainstream finance — reservations and tribal lands are often bank deserts. CDFIs — Native and otherwise — fill the tremendous gaps in economic opportunity for Native peoples, especially in rural areas, providing access to credit, equity, and financial support.

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Persistent Poverty

Persistent Poverty

Defined as 20 percent or more of an area’s population living in poverty for 30 years or more, persistent poverty affects 37 million people nationwide. Roughly 40 percent of CDFI lending is in persistent poverty areas across America.

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A happy Black couple posing in a park

Racial Equity

All Americans deserve a fair chance to grow wealth for themselves and their families. But the racial wealth gap continues to make it nearly impossible for millions of Black Americans and other people of color to build financial health. CDFIs are committed to helping close the racial wealth gap and advance racial equity.

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A train passing through a rural area in America

Rural Development

Rural America is filled with strength and opportunity but is too often underestimated and underinvested by traditional lenders. CDFIs believe rural communities are worthy of investment. Many finance rural growth and talent.

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CDFI priority: Small business - A happy woman standing

Small Business

For new and budding entrepreneurs, especially from minority communities, small business startup and growth financing is elusive. Where traditional lenders see risk, CDFIs see opportunity and lend to hardworking people who may not fit typical small business lending criteria.

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CDFIs Provide Responsible Capital and much more

Unlike traditional banks, CDFIs specialize in lending to individuals, organizations, and businesses in under-resourced communities, offering borrowers the financial education, business coaching, and low-interest rate loans to increase their economic potential.


What is a CDFI?

CDFIs invest in people and places not credit boxes.

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CDFI Clients Have a Vision

CDFI clients are hardworking people with a dream for themselves and their families.

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CDFIs are Everywhere

CDFIs work in rural, urban, and Native communities nationwide.

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