CDFI Fund: Comments Sought on CDFI Certification Requirements

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) is seeking comments from the general public, including Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), community development practitioners and investors, and other federal agencies, on the requirements to achieve and maintain certification as a CDFI. The Request for Information (RFI) will be published in the Federal Register later this week.

Since the CDFI Fund was established in 1994 and the first CDFIs certified in 1997, the universe of certified CDFIs has grown to more than 1,000—with collective assets totaling more than $100 billion and headquarters in all fifty states and several territories. With this RFI, the CDFI Fund is embarking on a holistic review of its CDFI certification tests to ensure they accurately reflect and assess the evolving diversity of Community Development Financial Institutions and the communities they serve.

During the past two decades, the significance of CDFI certification has increased. Not only does certification make an entity eligible for various programs at the CDFI Fund, it has also begun to serve as a qualifier to access certain other Federal government programs. It is important to emphasize that the CDFI Fund does not operate in a regulatory capacity. However, as CDFI access to programs outside of the CDFI Fund’s purview continues to expand, it is important to ensure that certification continues to accurately verify an organization’s commitment to a community development mission.

The RFI seeks feedback from the public on certain aspects of the certification criteria and process. These include how the primary mission test should be met; what the criteria should be for serving Investment Areas and Targeted Populations; and how a CDFI should demonstrate accountability to its Target Market, among other topics.

The CDFI Fund intends to consider the feedback received through this RFI as it reexamines its current CDFI certification criteria. In order to be considered, all comments must be submitted in writing by 60 days after the date of publication of the Federal Register notice to David Meyer, Certification, Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation (CCME) Manager, CDFI Fund, at cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov.

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