Opportunity Finance Network - eNewsletter
November 2009

News, Innovations & Results:

Also in this issue:

2009 Conference Recap
2009 Opportunity Finance Network Conference

The 25th Annual Opportunity Finance Network Conference held October 27–30, 2009 in Charlotte, NC was the best attended conference ever! More than 750 opportunity finance practitioners, funders, investors, and advocates gathered for networking, knowledge sharing, training, and most of all, inspiration. The Conference's core curriculum on Stabilization and Growth featured more than 30 sessions designed to help CDFIs navigate in these “best of times, worst of times,” and emerge from today's challenging market prepared to seize opportunities in “The New Normal.”

Conference attendees tell us that it's a “Great meeting place for key industry leaders in CDFI investment world.” If you attended the Conference, be sure to share your feedback with us.

Conference Highlights:

The Opening Plenary celebrated the Conference's 25th Anniversary by bringing together CDFI industry pioneers and future leaders. Newsweek's Dan Gross led the panel discussion on the sweeping changes impacting the nation’s financial system.

OFN President & CEO, Mark Pinsky's State of the Industry speech, “The New Normal set the tone for the Conference, encouraging everyone to never be afraid and to work together for a “Better Normal.” Mark reinforced OFN's commitment to ensuring that CDFIs emerge from the current crisis stronger than we entered it and that our government and private sector partners are working with us, not against us.

The third annual Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance recognized six outstanding CDFIs with awards presentations and tributes. Jim King of Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises and Juliana Eades of New Hampshire Community Loan Fund provided insights into the innovative work that makes them NEXT and their visions for the future. Relive the excitement by viewing the photo slideshow or Finalist, Awardee, and acceptance speech videos.

The 4th Annual Native Awards recognized Kristi Coker of Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corp. as the 2009 Visionary Leader and Cook Inlet Lending Center as the 2009 Circle of Honor winner.

CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell praised OFN efforts during the Conference Keynote and commended its Members on efforts to successfully navigate “The New Normal,” and emerge from this uncertain financial period in an even stronger position. Gambrell spoke of the challenges and opportunities facing CDFIs in these new times, and the current and future policy initiatives the Fund is exploring to better assist CDFIs in adapting to the changing economic environment.

Download session presentations and handouts from the more than 5,300 hours of training were delivered as Conference participants explored the core curriculum on Stabilization and Growth.


Wachovia NEXT Awards—$25K Awardees
Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance

With the excitement building, the Wachovia NEXT Awards evening presentation on October 28th included the announcement of the awardees of the $25,000 grants in the categories of Community Impact, Advocacy, Innovation, and Financing. The awardees were:

Citizen Potawatomi Community Development Corporation (CPCDC), based in Shawnee, Oklahoma was awarded the Community Impact prize for achieving a high volume of community outcomes relative to its peers, designing and implementing an effective impact tracking system, and regularly using their impact data to enhance their programs.

Community and Shelter Assistance Corporation's (CASA of Oregon) was recognized with the Advocacy award for its advocacy work on behalf of farm workers and other low-income populations in the state of Oregon.

Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) of San Francisco received the Innovation award for its work in providing health care access and financial literacy training to business owners and their low/moderate income (LMI) employees, and for providing impact measurement services to other social investors.

Seedco Financial Services, Inc. (Seedco Financial) of New York City was selected to receive the Financing award for its post-Hurricanes Katrina and Rita business lending program in Louisiana.

OFN extends warm congratulations to these extraordinary CDFIs! Learn more about these impressive Wachovia NEXT Awardees.


News From the Hill
Taking the Policy Offensive

OFN Members Receive More Than $1 Billion in New Markets Tax Credit Allocations!
CDFI Fund Director Donna Gambrell delivered a speech at Opportunity Finance Network’s conference, and then headed to Chicago to join Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in announcing $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations. This was the second of two NMTC announcements this year following the announcement of $1.5 billion in allocation authority through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) in May. The awards, which total $5 billion in allocation authority, provide credits to 99 organizations headquartered in 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Geithner stated, “We must make sure that the advantages of this new, stronger economy are broadly shared. Too often, communities are left behind by economic growth. The Recovery Act and the New Markets Tax Credit program help break this vicious cycle to ensure the benefits of growth reaches all corners of the country.”

Read more

Treasury Announces New Initiative to Increase Small Business Lending through Regulated CDFIs
In late October, President Obama announced a new initiative to boost credit for small businesses. The initiative explicitly recognizes the valuable role that the CDFI industry plays in small business lending by offering lower-cost capital to some CDFIs that lend to small businesses in the hardest-hit rural and urban areas. The proposal would provide CDFI banks and credit unions with the opportunity to apply for capital at a rate of 2% for up to 8 years, jumping after 8 years to 9% to encourage repayment. (Non-CDFI community banks will be able to borrow funds at 3%.) OFN strongly commends the Obama Administration for launching this new small business program. Read the announcement from the White House.

Read more.


OFN News

Staying Connected Calls
Register now for Childcare, Charter School, and Rural Microenterprise Finance on November 19, 2009. Staying Connected Calls are an opportunity for OFN and its members to share information on current issues. Each call is dedicated to a single issue.

Though much of OFN's policy work focuses on industry wide resources such as the CDFI Fund, we're also active in shaping targeted resources for CDFI financing “niches” including charter schools, childcare facilities, and microenterprise. Join OFN policy staff and guest Corey Carlisle, Chair of the Charter School Lenders Coalition and LIIF Public Policy Director, to discuss current activity on these issues.

All calls will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Time and end by 2 p.m. Eastern Time.
To register for this call click here.

On October 15th, Cheryl Neas, OFN Senior Vice Present for Policy, hosted a call on CDFI Fund Reports. The call was an opportunity to share experiences as CDFIs reported for the first time under www.Federalreporting.gov. All calls are recorded and posted as Podcasts.


CARS™ Unveils new subscription plan for investors.
CARS™ is introducing a new annual subscription that provides unlimited access to all the CARS™ ratings and reports in our data base and any new ones issued during the 12-month subscription period.

With an annual subscription, investors will have the ability to sort the CARS™ database and explore new investment opportunities without worrying about exceeding their subscription limit.

Beginning January 1, 2010, current full-subscribers will automatically have access to all CARS™ ratings reports for the remainder of their subscription period. The renewal price for the annual subscription is $15,000—the same as the current full subscription.

And for a limited time, investors that are new to CARS™ and existing 3-pak subscribers can try the new annual subscription for the introductory price of $10,000.

Effective January 1, 2010, CARS™ will no longer offer a full (10-pak subscription) and the price of a 3-pak will increase to $7,000.

Contact Paige Chapel at pchapel@CARSratingsystem.net for more information.

OFN Regional Meetings

MidAtlantic Regional Meeting - Save the Date!
OFN Members and other CDFIs are invited to attend the 2009 OFN MidAtlantic Regional Meeting on December 16th at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. To register please email Jacki Fox at jfox@opportunityfinance.net.

OFN Welcomes New Board Members
The OFN Membership elected four Directors at the Annual Meeting held October 29th during The Opportunity Finance Network Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Doug Bystry*
President & CEO
Clearinghouse CDFI

Ignacio Esteban*
Executive Director
Florida Community Loan Fund

Jeannine Jacokes*
Executive Director
Partners for the Common Good

Trinita Logue
President & CEO

(*) indicates re-election.


Job Bank

For a comprehensive list of all current job opportunities, including openings at Opportunity Finance Network, visit the Job Bank on Opportunity Finance Network’s Web site. And it’s easy for you to submit job postings online 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.



We value your feedback and would be very interested in hearing what you like and don’t like about our current e-Newsletter as well as what you would like to see in future editions. Our goal is to provide you with the latest opportunity finance industry information in an engaging and readable format. Please send your comments and suggestions about this e-Newsletter to Jeffrey Gelt at jgelt@opportunityfinance.net.