Opportunity Finance Network - eNewsletter
August 2010
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News, Innovations & Results:

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Register Now
2010 Conference Registration is Open!

Come to San Francisco, November 2–5, for OFN’s 26th annual Conference:
Capital. Justice. If Not Now, When?

This year’s Conference opens with the unveiling of OFN’s 2010–2025 Strategic Plan, which is the culmination of a year-long process that included the engagement of hundreds of CDFIs, funders, investors, policy makers, and others. Dozens of breakout sessions will provide opportunities to learn new skills, discuss current issues, and engage with peers. Session tracks include small business finance, housing finance, risk management, partnerships and collaborations, research and evaluation, and more. A new CDFI-to-CDFI Exchange will provide a marketplace where CDFIs can do business with each other. And community development tours will showcase the impact CDFIs are making around San Francisco. Look out for your Conference brochure in the mail this month.

Visit our Web site for a complete, up-to-date list of all sessions, and to register for the Conference.


NEXT Awards Finalists
Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards

On August 10, OFN was pleased to announce this year’s four finalists for the Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance as: Alternatives Federal Credit Union; Boston Community Capital; Enterprise Cascadia; and Partners for the Common Good. The Wachovia Wells Fargo NEXT Awards is the nation’s largest and most prestigious awards program for CDFIs with awards totaling $8.25 million. The aim of these awards is to propel high-potential CDFIs to the next level of growth, success, and staying power. Awardees will be announced prior to an awards celebration on Wednesday, November 3, at OFN’s Conference in San Francisco, CA. Read more about these amazing finalists—and the awards program—on our press release. Congratulations to all the finalists!


Mark Pinsky Testifies at the Community Reinvestment Act Hearing
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

On August 12, OFN’s President and CEO Mark Pinsky testified at an interagency hearing on the future of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. This hearing was one in a series of four discussions on modernizing the CRA. The hearings, which were held in Arlington, VA, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, IL, and Los Angeles, CA, provided an opportunity for a diverse group of stakeholders to offer insight to regulators on changes that are needed to CRA to increase its impact and efficacy.

CDFIs still have the opportunity to submit written testimony and weigh in on issues including revision of assessment areas, incentivizing community development investments, and other ways to facilitate bank partnerships. OFN has prepared sample testimony for Members that can be customized and submitted to the regulatory agencies.

All testimony must be submitted by August 31, 2010. For more information about submitting testimony, visit http://www.ffiec.gov/cra/hearings.htm or contact Dafina Williams.


OFN Announces New COO Cathy Dolan
Cathy Dolan

In September, Cathy Dolan will join the OFN team as the new chief operating officer. Cathy’s responsibilities will include running OFN’s operations, as well as business development, executive management, and public representation of OFN. Prior to OFN, Cathy was senior vice president and director of community lending and investment for the Eastern US for Wells Wachovia.

“I am thrilled to welcome Cathy Dolan to OFN. With a background in community development finance and banking, Cathy brings exceptional expertise, knowledge of the field, and management experience to OFN,” said Mark Pinsky, President & CEO of OFN. “Cathy’s leadership and insight will complement OFN’s outstanding management team as we continue to pursue our strategic objectives.”


Latest and Greatest Industry Info: The CDFI Data Project
Community Development Financial Institutions: Providing Capital, Building Communities, Creating Impact

The publication Community Development Financial Institutions: Providing Capital, Building Communities, Creating Impact analyzes FY 2008 data from 495 CDFIs. The study found that these CDFIs held total assets of $29.4 billion, invested $5.53 billion, and had a net charge-off rate of 0.75%, which compares favorably to the net charge-off rate of 1.28% for all FDIC-insured financial institutions. This information and more can be found in the eighth edition of this publication, which was developed by the CDFI Data Project (CDP), an industry collaborative that produces data about CDFIs and is managed by OFN. Visit the CDP Web site to download a free copy, purchase the CDP dataset, or to get more information about ordering a further data analysis.

The CDP is supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and managed by Opportunity Finance Network.


Invitation to Apply to CDFIs v2.0
CDFIsv2.0 The Vision of a New Generation

OFN will bring together 20–25 emerging leaders in San Francisco on October 14–16 to discuss their recommendations for CDFIs and the industry they might lead some day. CDFIs v2.0: The Vision of a New Generation reflects the need to spotlight new perspectives and give voice to new ideas.

Prospective applicants may come from across the opportunity finance industry, including those from: CDFIs; financial institutions or foundations that invest in CDFIs; governmental bodies that provide funding or influence policy around CDFIs and other community development initiatives; and other organizations that share the aims and goals of bringing greater capital and talent to the work of CDFIs.

The 20–25 selected will represent a diverse set of opinions and perspectives. Those selected will travel to San Francisco for one and a half days of discussion and networking. With generous support from Rabobank, OFN will cover travel, meals, and lodging.

If you are an emerging leader interested in participating, please submit the completed Application Form by August 23, 2010, or contact Roberta Gallaway for additional information.


News From the Hill
Taking the Policy Offensive

CDFI Fund Announces More than $104 Million in Financial and Technical Assistance Awards
OFN Members Receive 60 Percent of the Awards!

Today, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund Director Donna Gambrell joined Treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios and Representatives José Serrano (D-16th) and Nydia Velázquez (D-12th) in New York City to announce FY2010 awards totaling $104.9 million for CDFIs serving low wealth and low-income communities in states across the country. The 180 grants, made to organizations in 46 states and the District of Columbia represents the largest number of awards made in a single funding round in the CDFI Fund’s history.

Director Gambrell stated, “These awards will enable CDFIs to expand their impact and to provide the critically needed loans, capital, and support that have been instrumental in establishing and sustaining successful small businesses. The awards announced today will continue to build upon the success CDFIs have had improving access to capital in underserved communities.”

Read more

Senate Appropriations Committee Recommends $302.4 million for CDFI Fund; House Appropriations Subcommittee Recommends $250 million for CDFI Fund
As Congress prepared to return home for its August recess, the appropriations process began to pick up steam. Late last month, the Senate Appropriations Committee met to vote on the FY 2011 Financial Services and General Government appropriations legislation. The Committee recommended an appropriation of $302.4 million for the CDFI Fund in FY 2011—an increase of $52.4 million over the President’s budget proposal and $55.65 million greater than the FY 2010 funding level. The bill provides funding for several new and existing programs including...

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Small Business Jobs Bill Pending Before the Senate
In other legislative news of interest to the opportunity finance industry, the Senate continues to consider a Small Business Jobs bill which includes several provisions that could benefit CDFI loan funds. The bill has been on a tumultuous ride through the Senate in the past few weeks. After garnering the support of Republican Senators George LeMieux (R-FL) and George Voinovich (R-OH), who joined with Democrats to successfully end debate on an amendment that paved the way for the inclusion of the $30 billion Small Business Lending Fund, the bill did not overcome a critical vote in August that would have limited further debate and amendments and move it towards a final vote.

Read more


OFN Connected!
OFN Connected

This month, OFN is piloting a new conference call series for Members to connect with each other. Members Connected is a series of calls organized and moderated by OFN Members. In contrast to OFN’s Staying Connected conference calls, which are organized and moderated by OFN, any Member can organize a Members Connected call to talk to other Members about a challenge, an idea, a new opportunity, or pose a burning question. Members Connected lets Members immediately expand their knowledge network with the click of a few buttons. The first call was hosted by Chris Sikes of Western Massachusetts Enterprise Fund. Chris and other small business and microenterprise lenders talked about the importance of delivering technical assistance to businesses, even those that are not ready for business financing; the challenges of fundraising for delivery of training and technical assistance; and the benefits of a sector-based approach to micro and small business lending. OFN Members sign up to host a Members Connected call.


CARS™-Rated CDFIs Picking up Steam
CARS™ -  The CDFI Assessment and Rating System

More and more CDFIs are getting rated as they realize the importance of an additional third-party rating system to help them define their strengths and areas for improvement. CARS™ released its 80th ratings report this summer and reached the “100 mark” for published annual review reports. The number of rated CDFIs now stands at 57. CARS™ plans to release 10 more ratings reports before the end of 2010 with another six analyses in-process. And 2011 is stacking up to be another busy year with 15 CDFIs scheduled for CARS™ ratings in the first six months of the year. Visit the CARS™ Web site to see a current list of rated CDFIs and scheduled ratings for the balance of 2010.


New OFN Staff Members
Pam Porter

As the CDFI industry grows, so, too, does OFN’s staff! August brought a plethora of new faces to the Philadelphia office, including Pam Porter, OFN’s new executive vice president, strategic consulting. In her new role, Pam will lead the design, marketing and execution of consulting services to CDFIs, investors in CDFIs, government agencies, and sustainable financing solutions. Before accepting this position at OFN, Pam was the executive vice president of strategy at Right Management. Look for more information on OFN’s consulting services in the near future.

Additionally, OFN welcomes Matthew Royles and Laura Sylvester:

Matthew Royles, Assistant Vice President, Development: In this new position, Matt will support OFN’s relationships with funders and investors. Matt brings six years of CDFI industry experience to OFN, adding not only his energy but also a substantive understanding of CDFIs and their partners. Matt comes to OFN from ACCION USA, where he was Associate Director of Resource Development, managing grant relationships and reporting with bank, foundation, and government partners and gaining an appreciation for the on-the-ground work of CDFIs.

Laura Sylvester, Junior Associate, CARS™/Administration: In her new role, Laura will act as the support person of the organization, and the main operations production and support person for CARS™ and the Financing Fund. Prior to OFN, Laura was an AmeriCorps VISTA at the CDFI Community First Fund in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.


Welcome New Member

NeighborWorks Columbus’ mission is to promote and provide access to fit and affordable housing for all citizens of low to moderate income.


Job Bank

For a comprehensive list of all current jobs in the CDFI industry, including openings at Opportunity Finance Network, visit the Job Bank on Opportunity Finance Network’s Web site. If you’d like to post a CDFI industry job listing, it’s easy with our online form.


Events Calendar

Want to showcase your events?
Email us at webupdates@opportunityfinance.net to let us know the details. OFN will add them to our online Calendar of Events, a resource for the opportunity finance industry.