Community Development Financial Institutions Offer Tools to Support South Bend’s Growth

May 29 · 3 min read

The City of South Bend is interested in working with mission-driven lenders called Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) to extend access to capital to a wider pool of South Bend residents seeking funding for personal credit building, small business support, home mortgages, and a variety of other financial needs. CDFIs perform similar functions to credit unions and banks, but they are governed by different federal regulations that allow them to be profitable but not profit maximizing. Connecting these lenders with residents in need of financing will increase economic opportunity and mobility for South Bend and help the city thrive.

CDFI lending has many benefits, but as of fiscal year 2017, there were only 2,000 CDFI lenders throughout the country. CDFIs face particularly high barriers to entering new financial markets because they require a wealth of local knowledge in order to lend successfully. In 2017, Bloomington piloted a new “CDFI Friendly City” approach and formed a nonprofit entity to serve as a a matchmaker between residents in need of capital and CDFIs best-positioned to meet their needs. South Bend has been scoping the landscape of financial need to determine what a locally-tailored CDFI friendly approach looks like.

On June 4, the City of South Bend will host ““Investing in Our Future: Expanding South Bend’s Commitment to Inclusive Economic Growth” to share findings over the past six months of scoping and discuss next steps for CDFI Friendly South Bend. The event will convene local stakeholders representing banks, credit unions, and community organizations, as well as national CDFI leaders to discuss innovative financing opportunities that layer private, public, and CDFI funding. South Bend residents will shape our own version of a CDFI Friendly City model through the varied capital needs they express and CDFIs will be able to connect the dots and share their expertise to help South Bend thrive.

The event will feature a keynote speech from Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with introductions by Council President Tim Scott and Council Vice President Karen White. A plenary panel on principles for making South Bend “CDFI Friendly” will include:

Mayor Pete, linking the prospect of CDFI Friendly South Bend to the incredible growth and vitality present in South Bend,

Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington, IN, reporting on his community’s progress,

Dan Letendre, Bank of America’s CDFI Executive and the dean of CDFI investors,

Christina Brooks, South Bend’s Diversity & Inclusion Officer, and

Adina Abramowitz, President of Consulting for Change.

A second panel will address a range of creative investment strategies in partnership with CDFIs, including tax credits and Opportunity Zones. It will feature:

Allison Clark, Associate Director for Impact Investing at the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation,

Keith Broadnax of Cinnaire, a large, regional CDFI,

Ignacio Esteban of Florida Community Loan Fund,

Regina Emberton of the South Bend — Elkhart Regional Partnership, and

Mike Keen, a leader in green development in the city.

This event is an opportunity for local residents, community developers, bankers, credit union representatives, and elected officials to connect with CDFI industry leaders to discuss the prospect of “CDFI Friendly South Bend”. The City has partnered with Mark Pinsky of Five/ Four Advisors, a leader in the CDFI industry to plan this event. You can read more on Pinsky’s blog: http://bit.ly/2W6Ol8u.

Sonja Karnovsky is a Business Analyst in the Department of Innovation & Technology.

Innovation in South Bend

Stories and updates from the City of South Bend’s Department of Innovation & Technology

Sonja Karnovsky

Written by

Sonja Karnovsky works as a business analyst for the City of South Bend’s Department of Innovation & Technology.

Innovation in South Bend

Stories and updates from the City of South Bend’s Department of Innovation & Technology

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