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Alternative Financial Services

Alternative financial services (AFS) refers to products and services that provide basic financial transactions utilized by low‐income individuals and households. Retail businesses such as check cashers, pawn shops, and payday advance lenders are frequently found in low‐income neighborhoods where few bank or credit union branches are located, and are jointly referred to as Alternative Financial Service Providers (AFSPs). These alternative financial services providers offer an array of services that are popular with low‐income consumers who do not have bank accounts or who choose not to use banks for their daily financial transactions.

Alternative Financial Services

The Community Development Credit Union

Agencies seeking to learn more about establishing a credit union, creating alternative lending and investment programs and capital loan fund strategies, can benefit from the Community Development Credit Union Guide.

The Community Development Credit Union

Community Development Financial Institute

For successful loan funds, the CDFI designation is very important and allows your lending program to grow dramatically. Most foundation and corporate grants and investments from financial institutions look for the CDFI designation before grant or investment discussions begin. Over the last three years, financial institutions have been very actively seeking sound CDFIs to invest in. CDFIs have been a very successful mechanism for financial institutions to meet lending and investment measures required by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and enforced by banking regulators. A high CRA rating is needed if the financial institution has plans to expand in the future.

Community Development Financial Institute

Commercial Development Investment Funds

This 
guide 
is 
focused
 on 
Equity
 Investment 
Funds which are funds that target
 capital
 needs specific 
for businesses
 and
 community development 
but 
take 
the 
form 
of 
equity
 versus 
debt.

Commercial Development Investment Funds

Community Development Loan Funds

The Community Development Loan Fund Guide will provide community developers with tools to create alternative lending and investment programs, including capital from loan funds.

Community Development Loan Funds

Community Development Micro-loan Funds

The Community Development Micro-Loan Fund Guide will help organizations who assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in gaining access to capital.

Community Development Micro-loan Funds

Financial Education

This guide is intended for use by organizations that are considering providing financial education services. Financial education programs encompass diverse topical areas, which can range from personal finance management to small business technical assistance. This guide will help organizations to better understand the complexities of financial education programs and the commitments needed to proceed. This guide will also detail the degree of support needed by community, local government, and public and private sector partners, with respect to organizational budgets.

Financial Education

CAFI Application for Job Creation Projects

New Market Tax Credits

New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) has become a very important financing tool for non‐housing community development, business and real estate development projects. Despite current economic conditions, NMTCs are a reliable incentive for attracting equity and debt capital to projects in economically disadvantaged communities from major commercial financial institutions. Through the sales of the credits, equity is brought into community development projects, usually to fill a critical gap in financing.

New Market Tax Credit

Working with Foundations

The growth of community economic development over the last two decades was assisted by grants and support from foundations around the country. In large cities, groups of foundations came together to support basic core operations of nonprofit community developers. In rural communities, national foundations and local family and corporate foundations helped outstanding individual organizations to undertake new work and expand older programs. Many practitioners and observers point to these and other foundation supports as essential to the growth of the field.

Working with Foundations

 

Case Studies

What Is Community Economic Development?

real-estate-int-rightThis guide will help organizations understand the complexities of development and the commitment needed to proceed.

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bus-dev-int-rightThis guide is intended for use by organizations that are considering providing small business technical assistance services.

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