CDFI Support Rises

CDFIs keep showing up in unexpected places.

At a March 21st hearing of the House Financial Services Committee, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) unveiled a March 14th letter from all of the major bank trade associations opposing President Trump’s proposed cuts to The CDFI Fund.

The American Bankers Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America, the Community Development Bankers Association, and the National Bankers Association jointly called on congressional appropriators to fully fund the CDFI Fund for fiscal 2017 and 2018.

“Community based financial institutions are uniquely positioned to understand local credit needs which is why there is historic bipartisan support for the CDFI Fund,” they wrote to the Chairwoman and ranking Democrat of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee responsible for the Fund and the Chairman and ranking Democrat of the corresponding House Appropriations subcommittee.

The bankers also urged Congress to increase the allocation to the Bank Enterprise Awards program from the overall budget.

Ellison used the letter to solicit and win support for the Fund from the witnesses, including a banker representing the American Bankers Association, a credit union executive, and two others. The hearing was not on The CDFI Fund, making Ellison’s case stand out during the proceedings.

Jeannine Jacokes of the CDBA said that the collaboration among the bank trade organizations was built over decades.

Together with a small run of positive media coverage, CDFIs are getting a share of the spotlight that might help them fend off deep cuts in The CDFI Fund appropriations. Ellison is making clear he will continue to defend the Fund’s appropriations. There is considerable uncertainty about the appropriations process and so about the Fund’s level of support. That means there is considerable work ahead for CDFI Fund advocates.

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