Community

Support Needed for CDFI Fund

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In 2010, Industrial CU earned its Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification. The U.S. Treasury gives this designation to financial institutions that have a primary mission of community development; and it provides financial support for this mission through the CDFI Fund.

Over the last 7 years, the CDFI Fund has given Industrial CU the opportunity to build a business loan program to serve those that the general banking industry would not. It has allowed the Credit Union to help local farmers, fishers, ranchers and other value-added businesses increase production, in an effort to improve the availability of healthy foods in Whatcom County. And through these programs, the Credit Union has also impacted job creation and helped our community grow stronger.

Funding for CDFI may now be in jeopardy, and the Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions is asking for help. The following information was released by the Coalition:

Fiscal Year 2017 and 2018 CDFI Fund Appropriations

As you know, the CDFI Fund appropriations are in need of strong congressional support for both Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 and 2018. Reports on the Trump Administration’s “skinny budget” would “all, but eliminate” the CDFI Fund. While nothing is confirmed, the CDFI Coalition is working to demonstrate the importance of these programs to communities nationwide. With that in mind, we are asking organizations, businesses and local officials to show their support for funding the CDFI Fund programs in FY 17 and FY 18 at the level passed by the House in its FY 17 Financial Services/General Government Bill. Please sign onto this letter by March 20th and share it with your networks to help us get a robust showing of support.

More details on the Appropriations situation:

The FY 17 Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on April 28 and it now appears that Congress will not act until it expires.The CR continues almost all federal programs at the FY 2016 rate. It is unknown whether the Trump Administration will take a position on the CR and make a request for funding in the measure. The FY 2017 House Financial Services/General Government Bill (H.R. 5485) provided $250 million for the Fund, the highest appropriation ever.The Senate bill (S. 3067) provided $233.5 million, which is a freeze at the FY 2016 rate. The Coalition is supporting the House level for both FY 2017 and FY 2018.

Fiscal Year 2018 Process Begins to Unfold

Apparently one of the causalities of that short is the CDFI Fund. While nothing is confirmed, we understand that the Administration will propose eliminating all of Fund’s grant money with a small amount requested for administration of the New Markets Tax Credit, Capital Magnet Fund and the Bond Guarantee program. As we have reported previously, the Heritage Foundation, which played major role in the transition effort, had recommended elimination of the Fund.

The CDFI Coalition and other members have weighed-in with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in support of the CDFI Fund. While this news is disappointing, it is only the beginning of the process and there could be changes when the final budget is released—and certainly when Congress takes up the FY 18 spending bill.

The release of a so-called “skinny budget” is scheduled for March 16, with a detailed presentation scheduled for May.

Submit Appropriations Requests to Your Members of Congress

The House Appropriations Committee has launched the FY 2018 appropriations process. Last week the Committee notified House Members requests will be due in the next few weeks: see subcommittee deadlines here. The due date for the Financial Services/General Government Appropriations Bill is March 29. Members typically have internal offices deadlines in advance of the submission date to the Committee, so it is important to engage with your Representative now.

Most Representatives require any individual or organization making appropriations request to complete a form that provides detailed information on the amount, justification and nature of the program request, and the appropriation that bill included for the program. Attached please find a template with that information to complete the form.

If you are unsure about the best staff person to contact in your Representatives’ office, the Coalition can help. Contact Sam Rapoza (sam@rapoza.org) for assistance.