US Labor Department Releases New Guidance Note on Economically Targeted Investments for Pension Funds

On October 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01 (“IB 15-01”), which provides clarification on the conditions under which a fiduciary of a plan that is subject to the fiduciary standards of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) may invest plan assets in economically targeted investments (“ETIs”). Put simply, the conditions required for ERISA pension funds to able to invest in ETIs.
The guidance note substitutes the Bush administration’s language in the 2008 bulletin, (“IB 08-01”), which is widely considered to have had a startling effect on economically targeted investing  and reinstates the 1994 guidance, (“IB 94-01”). The IB 94-01 allowed fund managers to consider social and environmental concerns in their investment decisions. The DOL cites the dissuading effect of the IB 08-01 language on fiduciaries propensity to consider ETI investments, one of the main reasons for switching back to the language of IB 94-01. This new guidance clarifies to fiduciaries that there are no additional considerations that fiduciaries must examine when contemplating ETIs. Instead,   social benefit might serve as a “tiebreaker” when evaluating two investment opportunities that with the same potential financial return.
The Community Development Capital Alliance strongly supports this important guidance note for its ability to open the door for fund managers to consider social impact investments while satisfying their fiduciary duty to pension holders

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Financial Services and General Government Bill

Yesterday, (July 23, 2015) the Senate Appropriations Committee reported out a Fiscal Year 2016 spending bill for Financial Services and General Government which included appropriations for the Treasury Department and the CDFI Fund.

The Committee’s reported bill included a level of $221 million for the CDFI Fund–an amount $9.5 million below the FY 2015 level and $12.5 below both the President’s Fiscal 2016 Budget request and the House request of $233.5 million. The Committee’s draft report raises questions about the applications and awards process, lack of transparency in the Fund’s programs, and the ability to verify investment impacts. It directs the Fund to establish clear reporting requirements and to collect data on the impact of Fund on underserved populations and communities. The report also directs Treasury, in designing programs, to take into consideration the challenges of rural and non-metro communities and encourage the Fund to improve the geographic diversity of its award recipients.

Read the draft report >>

  • – The House and the Senate did not set aside any funds for Healthy Foods Financing, though the Senate did not rule out the use of FA/TA for Healthy Foods in their report language.
  • – The bulk of the cuts came from FA/TA, which is $14.5 million below the House level. The Senate also provided $1 million less than the House for Native Initiatives, but they added an additional $3 million for BEA compared to the House.
  • – Finally, whereas the House did not include additional authority for the CDFI Bond Program, the Senate included $750 million, the level provided in FY 2015. See chart below for more information.

Finally, if the lack of a budget agreement to raise the caps set by the Budget Control Act were not a death knell for this bill, the rewrite of elements of Dodd-Frank, the limitations on the CPFB, reductions in IRS, and short funding of CFTC ensure that it will never make it to the Senate floor, let alone become law.
While the Senate bill was not perfect, it is not fatal either.  The bill is not weigh-down over the dispute over budget allocations but all the riders and re-writes of federal banking law.  The chances are very good for getting something close to the House bill.


CDFI Fund Appropriations

Senate Approves Tax Extenders Legislation

The Senate Finance Committee approved on July 21, 2015 a tax extender package.  The bill includes an amendment by Senator Cardin to increase NMTC credit authority to $3.94 billion for 2015 and 2016. The cost of the amendment is $230 million over the 10 year scoring period.  From 2008 to 2015, inflation reduced the Credit by 12%.  Cardin’s amendment provides what amounts to an inflation adjustment. It is the first increase in NMTC since enactment of the American Renewal and Recovery Act in 2009.

CDFI Fund to Hold National Listening Tour on a Community Development Finance “Framework for the Future”

The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) announced today a national listening tour to solicit public opinion regarding a new strategic framework for the CDFI Fund.

The CDFI Fund is particularly interested in hearing input on the following:

  • Program Effectiveness: Are the CDFI Fund’s programs working optimally for communities?  What should be improved and how?
  • Access: What more can the CDFI Fund do to reach communities that need CDFIs but are either not being served by them or have limited access to CDFI Fund support?
  • Innovation and Scaling: How can the CDFI Fund best support CDFIs to continue to innovate?  What will it take to scale solutions that are known to work?
  • Customer Service: What works well at the CDFI Fund and what needs to be improved?
  • Data:  How can the CDFI Fund support the use of data to strengthen the industry and increase its impact?
  • Blind Spots: What are the issues that should be on the CDFI Fund’s radar screen but are not?

For those unable to attend the listening sessions in person, the CDFI Fund has created an online survey, available at The survey responses will be combined with feedback from the listening session participants and will inform the CDFI Fund’s development of strategic objectives.

The CDFI Fund has also launched a Twitter account that will be providing updates during the Listening Tour. Follow the CDFI Fund @CDFIFund and the hashtag #CDFIFundListens.

Registration Information

Registration is required and will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis, with a total of 50 seats available per session.
For more information, click here.

Listening Tour Dates and Locations

Continue reading

U.S. Treasury Announces $3.5 Billion in NMTC Awards to Stimulate Economic Growth

On June 15, the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund announced that more than $3.5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) awards would aim towards spurring investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities throughout the country. A total of 76 organizations (allocatees) will receive tax credit allocation authority under the 2014 round of the NMTC Program.

Since the inception of this program, NMTC investments are estimated to have created nearly 600,000 new jobs and supported the construction of more than 160 million square feet of retail, manufacturing, and office space.

Read more about the NMTC Program and its awards recipients here.

Community Development Venture Capital Fund Training

The CDFI Fund is sponsoring a great opportunity to learn about and receive training and assistance in forming and operating a Community Development Venture Capital (CDVC) fund.  We are cooperating with our sister CDFI trade associations in providing a series of two-day training sessions this summer.  These sessions are provided FREE of charge under a capacity building contract from the federal CDFI Fund.  Participants in the sessions will be given first preference in receiving free technical assistance–both one-on-one and in groups–from CDVCA and other technical assistance partners.

June 16-17 in Baltimore, MD:  Training in forming a CDVC fund.  This training will be most helpful for those interested in forming new funds, but others may benefit as well.

July 22-23 in Denver, CO:  Training in understanding and becoming certified as a CDFI.  This training will be helpful for both new CDVC funds and experienced CDVC funds that are considering becoming CDFI certified or that have faced difficulties becoming certified.

August 19-20 in Kansas City, MO: Training in exploring successful strategies for geographic and product expansion in underserved areas and areas of persistent poverty. This training will be helpful for existing CDFI banks, credit unions, and loan funds.

Details of the sessions and how to register can be found here.  Remember, FREE technical assistance and group programs will be available in the months after the workshops on a first-come, first-served basis in the months after the sessions, and preference will be given to those who attend the workshops.  Please share this with others who you think might be interested in or benefit from these sessions, and/or let us know who you think might benefit from these services.  Please do not hesitate to contact Kerwin Tesdell at if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing you at the workshops this summer!


FY 16 CDFI Appropriations Update

The pace has begun to pick up on Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Appropriations. On April 22nd, the House Appropriations Committee approved the 302 (b) allocations for the 12 appropriations subcommittees. For the Financial Services Subcommittee, the total available is $20.25 billion, which is $1.6 billion less than the FY 2015 rate and almost $4 billion below the budget request that includes a $2 billion increase for the IRS.

For those interested  in CDFI Fund, the good news is that compared to the IRS and the Consumer Protection Bureau, as well as financial services reform (which could creep into the bill), the Fund is a relatively non-controversial item. However, it is still the case that at this point the Subcommittee will have less money to work with than FY 2015. In our meetings with House subcommittee members, staff and Committee leadership, no one raised substantial concerns and there appears to be a general recognition of the success of the CDFIs in working hard to serve communities. The House subcommittee will be marking up in June and, in advance of that, we will be starting another round of House meetings soon.

In the Senate, the process is not as far along.The earliest possible date for subcommittee allocations in May 17th.

Credits: CDFI Coalition

Bill Introduced to Permanently Extend NMTC

Three members of the House Ways and Means Committee, including Congressmen Pat Tiberi (R-OH), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Richard Neal (D-MA), introduced a bill to permanently extend the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program.  New Markets Tax Credit Extension Act of 2015 would ensure that rural communities and urban neighborhoods left outside the economic mainstream have access to financing to grow their economies and create jobs.  The legislation would also provide an annual inflation adjustment and allow the NMTC to be taken against alternative minimum tax liability.

Click here to read more.

CDVCA endorsement of SSBCI bill

CDVCA supports the ‘Small Business Access to Capital Act of 2014’ bill for its potential to stimulate job creation across the states by making available much needed capital to small businesses and leveraging private capital. CDVCA from its  experience managing the Innovate NY Fund, New York State’s SSBCI funded venture fund of funds, has seen firsthand the impact of the 2010 funding round.

Click here to view a one pager on the bill.