OFN encourages Members and the opportunity finance industry to refer to our collective work as "opportunity finance" to improve our ability to communicate with key audiences such as new investors, funders and policy makers. We define opportunity finance as a category of financing that helps people and communities just outside the margins of conventional, mainstream finance join the economic mainstream—and helps the economic mainstream enter emerging opportunity markets. Opportunity finance gives every man and woman the power to act in the best interests of themselves, their community, and future generations.
Market research conducted in 2005 tells us that our work and results are well perceived. However, Members told us that “CDFI” is a term that new audiences consider confusing and it is generally unknown.
When we communicate using these acronyms and insider terminology we have to work extra hard to first overcome negative perceptions before we can be “heard.” This costs us time and money!
As of 2008, sixty percent of OFN Members connected to the Opportunity Finance Network brand by featuring “Member of the Opportunity Finance Network” on their Web site or printed material. These Members have clearly connected their work to the results of the entire network and more readily benefit from the public relations and industry exposure generated by OFN.
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the leading national network of more than 160 private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) who deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. To date, the opportunity finance industry has financed more than $25 billion in underserved markets in all 50 states, yielding more than 200,000 jobs, 500,000 housing units, and 5,000 community facility projects.