Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) opened the fiscal year (FY) 2020 funding 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 2020 Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) in the Federal Register on April 3, 2020. The FY 2020 BEA Program NOFA states that up to $25 million is available in awards to eligible Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)-insured depository institutions.
Through the BEA Program, the CDFI Fund provides monetary awards to FDIC-insured banks and thrifts 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% 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 successful 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.
What’s New This Round
There is only one substantive change to the FY 2020 BEA Program from the prior funding year:
The CDFI Fund’s appropriation legislation—the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 (Public Law Number 116-93)—requires that at least 10% of BEA Program Awards be used for projects that serve populations living in Persistent Poverty Counties1 (PPCs). Please note that the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2020 expanded the definition of PPCs to include territories and possessions of the United States (US) based on the Island Areas Decennial Censuses or equivalent data of the Bureau of the Census. BEA Program applicants should note that only Qualified Activity transactions that occur in areas determined by the CDFI Fund to be BEA qualified Distressed Communities will count towards a BEA Award PPC Commitment. The CDFI Fund has updated the BEA Program Eligibility Data spreadsheet to reflect the BEA Qualified Distressed Community Determination for census tracts located in the US territories and possessions, and the overall PPC designation of these areas.
Please reference the FY 2020 BEA Program NOFA and BEA Program Application Instructions for detailed information regarding all relevant deadlines for the FY 2020 BEA Program funding round. As a highlight:
- Part I of the FY 2020 BEA Program Application must be submitted through Grants.gov by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) on May 4, 2020.
- Part II of the FY 2020 BEA Program Application:
- Applicants are required to enter, edit, or delete all transactions and addresses in the CDFI Fund’s Award Management Information System (AMIS) by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 1, 2020.
- Applicants must sign and submit their electronic BEA Program Application in AMIS by 5:00 p.m. ET on June 3, 2020.
In addition to being available through Grants.gov, the FY 2020 BEA Program NOFA and BEA Program 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 FY 2020 BEA Program 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 AMIS to apply to the FY 2020 BEA Program funding round. Organizations should either create these accounts if they do not 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 in a blog post released on February 7, 2020. Additional information can be located in the FY 2020 BEA Program NOFA.
The CDFI Fund Information Mapping System has also been updated to include the BEA Qualified Distressed Community Determination for census tracts located in US territories and possessions, and the overall PPC designation of these areas. Applicants should use CIMS to geocode all of their transactions.
Learn About Applying to the BEA Program
The CDFI Fund is conducting two live webinars to provide applicants with an overview of the FY 2020 BEA Program application and a forum to ask questions. Advance registration is not required to participate in the webinars. Please access the webinars, using the links provided below, at least five minutes prior to the beginning of the webinar.
Viewing these webinars requires the use of WebEx. To download the WebEx Event manager, please see the instructions on the WebEx Downloads webpage.
|Date and Time||Conference Line||Access Link|
|Webinar 1||April 8, 2020|
2:30-3:30 PM ET
|Webinar 2||April 10, 2020|
2:30-3:30 PM ET
The CDFI Fund has also provided a pre-recorded demonstration of the electronic BEA Program Application and an AMIS Training Manual for FY 2020 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 Program 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 email@example.com. The CDFI Fund will not answer questions about the FY 2020 round of the BEA Program after 5:00 p.m. ET on June 1, 2020.
1 Persistent Poverty Counties are defined as any county that has had 20 percent or more of its population living in poverty over the past 30 years, as measured by the 1990 and 2000 decennial censuses, and the most recent series of 5-year data available from the American Community Survey from the Census Bureau.