The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

"The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund was created to expand the availability of credit, investment capital, and financial services in distressed urban and rural communities...By stimulating the creation and expansion of diverse community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and by providing incentives to traditional banks and thrifts, the Fund’s investments work toward building private markets, creating healthy local tax revenues, and empowering residents. The CDFI Fund provides relatively small infusions of capital to institutions that serve distressed communities and low-income individuals...Since the Fund’s creation, it has made more than $534 million in awards to community development organizations and financial institutions."

"CDFIs are specialized financial institutions that work in market(s) that have not been adequately served by traditional financial institutions. .. CDFIs provide a wide range of financial products and services, including mortgage financing for first-time home-buyers, financing for needed community facilities, commercial loans and investments to start or expand small businesses, loans to rehabilitate rental housing, and financial services needed by low-income households and local businesses. In addition, these institutions provide services that help ensure that credit is used effectively, such as technical assistance to small businesses and credit counseling to consumers. CDFIs include community development banks, credit unions, loan funds, venture capital funds, and microenterprise loan funds, among others."

There are "652 Certified Community Development Financial Institutions as of October 1, 2003."

"Certification as a CDFI means that an organization meets the CDFI eligibility requirements. The CDFI eligibility requirements are set forth in the CDFI program regulations at 12 CFR § 1805.200 and are more fully described at 12 CFR § 1805.201.

These requirements relate to an organization being a legally existing entity, having a primary mission of promoting community development, principally serving and maintaining accountability to an eligible target market(s), being a financing entity, providing development services, and not being either a government entity or controlled by a government entity.

Certification does not constitute an opinion by the Fund as to the effectiveness or financial viability of the certified organization.

Organizations may apply for certification at any time. Once certified, an organization’s certification lasts for three years from the date of certification. A certified organization should submit its application for recertification no later than three months prior to the certification expiry date. As long as an organization continues to meet all six certification requirements, there is no limit to the number of times an applicant may be recertified. Organizations seeking certification or recertification may complete either the stand-alone certification application or the Certification Materials section of a CDFI Fund funding application. Both the stand-alone certification application and the funding applications are available on the Fund’s web site (

If you do not see an organization on this list, call the Fund at (202) 622-8662 to see if the organization has recently been certified or is under review."

See: List of Certified CDFIs by State or, or (202) 622-8662.

Posted for research purposes only. Copyright, CIR & WMC. 2003. For more information, contact us at or call 866-867-3795.

William Michael Cunningham


  • B.A.(Economics)
  • MBA(Finance)
  • A.M.(Industrial Organization)