The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) today opened the fiscal year (FY) 2019 application round for the Bank Enterprise Award Program (BEA Program). Application materials are now available on the BEA Program page of the CDFI Fund’s website in anticipation of the publication of the FY 2019 Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register on May 1, 2019. The FY 2019 NOFA states that up to $25 million is available in awards to eligible Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured banks.
Through the BEA Program, the CDFI Fund provides monetary awards to FDIC-insured depository institutions that successfully demonstrate an increase in their investments in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) or in their own lending, investing, or service activities in the most economically distressed communities. Distressed communities are defined as those where at least 30 percent of residents earn an income that is less than the national poverty level and where the unemployment rate is at least 1.5 times the national unemployment rate.
BEA Program Overview
The BEA Program provides formula-based grants to applicants for increasing Qualified Activities from one period, known as the Baseline Period, to a later period, known as the Assessment Period. There are three categories of Qualified Activities:
- CDFI Related Activities: Equity Investments, Grants, Equity-Like Loans, Loans, Deposits, and/or Technical Assistance provided to certified CDFIs.
- Distressed Community Financing Activities: Direct lending or investment in the form of Affordable Housing Loans, Affordable Housing Development Loans and Project Investments, Commercial Real Estate Loans and related Project Investments, Education Loans, Home Improvement Loans, Small Business Loans and Project Investments, or Small Dollar Consumer Loans provided to residents or businesses located in distressed communities.
- Service Activities: Financial products and services, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, check cashing, financial counseling, Individual Development Accounts, or youth savings accounts provided to residents of distressed communities; as well as opening new branches or ATM machines in distressed communities.
Full definitions of the Qualified Activities may be found in the BEA Program Regulations which are posted on the CDFI Fund’s website.
Changes from Last Round
There are limited changes to the FY 2019 BEA Program from the prior funding year. The changes include:
- A BEA Program Applicant may not receive a FY 2019 BEA Program award if the BEA Program Applicant has an application pending for assistance under the FY 2019 round of the CDFI Program, or was on the list of award recipients or executed an Assistance Agreement with the CDFI Fund under the CDFI Program within the 12-month period prior to the Federal Award Date of the FY 2019 BEA Program Award Agreement;
- FY 2019 Applicants will be required to only use the 2011-2015 American Community Survey data in CIMS for Distressed Community census tract verification;
- Scenario IV was added to the Integral Involvement Form to allow CDFI Partners located in Distressed Communities to demonstrate that at least 25 percent of the CDFI Partner’s physical locations are located in one or more Distressed Communities where it provided financial transactions or Development Service Activities during the calendar year preceding the date of the NOFA; and
- The CDFI Fund’s appropriation legislation—the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2019 (Public Law Number 116-6)—requires that at least 10 percent of BEA Program Awards be used for projects that serve populations living in Persistent Poverty Counties.
Please reference the FY 2019 NOFA and application instructions for detailed information regarding all relevant deadlines for the FY 2019 BEA Program. As a highlight:
- Part I of the application must be submitted through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 29, 2019.
- Part II of the application:
- Applicants are now required to enter, edit, or delete all transactions and addresses in the CDFI Fund’s Award Management Information System, or AMIS, by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 17, 2019.
- Applicants must sign and submit their BEA Program Electronic Application in AMIS by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 19, 2019.
In addition to being available through Grants.gov, the FY 2019 NOFA, a paper version of the application instructions, as well as other important guidance materials are available on the CDFI Fund’s website at www.cdfifund.gov/bea under “Step 1: Apply.” The electronic application is currently available in AMIS.
Required Application Systems
All applicants must be registered and have active accounts in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and the CDFI Fund’s Awards Management Information System (AMIS) to apply to the FY 2019 BEA Program funding round. Organizations should either create these accounts if they don’t exist or confirm that their existing accounts are up-to-date as soon as possible in order to avoid potential application submission problems. The CDFI Fund provided an initial overview of the steps to register in SAM.gov, Grants.gov, and AMIS on its Impact Blog in early April 2019. Additional information can be located in the FY 2019 BEA NOFA.
Learn About Applying to the BEA Program
The CDFI Fund is conducting two webinars to discuss the FY 2019 BEA Program funding round. These webinars will include question and answer sessions. The dates, times, and access information for these webinars can be found on the CDFI Fund’s website at www.cdfifund.gov/bea under “Step 1: Apply.” Advance registration is not required to participate in the webinars. For those unable to participate in the webinars, the presentation materials will be posted on the CDFI Fund’s website.
The CDFI Fund has also provided a pre-recorded demonstration of the BEA Program Electronic Application and an AMIS Training Manual for FY 2019 BEA Program Applicants on its website at www.cdfifund.gov/beaunder “Step 1: Apply.”
For more information on the BEA Program, please visit the BEA webpage of the CDFI Fund’s website: www.cdfifund.gov/bea. For questions regarding the BEA Program, please contact the CDFI Fund Help Desk at (202) 653-0421 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The CDFI Fund will not answer questions about the FY 2019 round after 5:00 p.m. ET on June 17, 2019.