Financial wellness is a trending term in our industry but what does it really mean to banks, consumers, technology providers alike? Banks and fintechs are eager to acquire customers by claiming to improve their financial lives, however there's no clear cut way to do this. Every consumer has a different situation with different financial goals, so what are the right tools they need to reach those goals, and how can you put the pieces of the puzzle together at scale? This week's webinar, we will discuss all sides of the equation (banks, fintechs, technology providers) and how they are working together to make a real impact on the financial lives of their customers. The panel will feature Ron Shevlin, Chief Research Officer at Cornerstone Advisors; Jason Henrichs, CEO at Alloy Labs; Sarah Austrin-Willis, Senior Director of Innovation at Financial Health Network, and Brian Blake, Director of Public Policy at CDBA
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) opened the fiscal year (FY) 2022 funding round for the CDFI Equitable Recovery Program (CDFI ERP) today. The program will provide approximately $1.73 billion in awards, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Pub. L. 116-260), to Certified Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to respond to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDFI Fund is opening the program round for applications today in anticipation of publication of the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register on June 24, 2022. Through CDFI ERP, the CDFI Fund will provide Awards to Certified CDFIs to 1) expand lending, grant making and investment activities in Low- or Moderate-Income communities and to borrowers, including minorities, that have significant unmet capital or financial services needs and were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and 2) enable CDFIs to build organizational capacity and acquire technology, staff, and other tools necessary to accomplish the activities under a CDFI ERP Award. All Awards provided through this NOFA are subject to funding availability. The CDFI ERP Award may be expended for eligible activities such as financial products, financial services, development services and/or grants, and certain operational support activities as defined by the NOFA. All applications must be submitted to the CDFI Fund by August 23, 2022.
Yesterday, the CDFI Fund released the FY2021 Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) award announcement, awarding over $336 million to 32 CDFIs and 27 Nonprofit Housing Organizations. This year: Three CDFI banks or bank holding companies and one CDFI bank affiliate received awards: Beneficial State Bancorp, Inc.; Central Bank of Kansas City; City First Enterprises, Inc.; and Legacy Bank & Trust Company; of the three CDFI banks or bank holding companies and one CDFI bank affiliate, all were either CDBA members or affiliated with a CDBA member; collectively, these banks increased their awards by $4.9 million over their previous award amounts; a total of 146 organizations applied for the FY2021 round requesting more than $991 million in CMF awards. Of those applicants, three were banks or thrifts and two were depository institution holding companies.
A new bill in Congress proposes a tax credit to subsidize long-term investments in financial institutions that have a primary mission to serve low- and moderate-income communities. The bipartisan Community Development Financial Institutions Tax Credit Act was introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner of Virginia along with Sens. Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. The legislators say the tax credit would "promote lasting economic prosperity in Black, brown and low-income communities." The proposed tax credit would subsidize equity investments into the 1,400 financial institutions that the U.S. Treasury Department has certified as Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs. To be certified, CDFIs must report that at least 60% of their annual lending and other business is in low- and moderate-income areas or with low- or moderate income borrowers.
The Harbor Bank of Maryland had a grand opening of their Northwood Branch this week. They took it as a perfect opportunity to celebrate Juneteenth. It's opening up in Northwood Commons Shopping Center, which played an important role during the Civil Rights movement. 400 students from Morgan State University protested the center's segregation and wound up in jail. Now it's been transformed to reflect the spirit of those 400 students and the work they did to fight for their rights.