Community Development Financial Institutions do work that support a variety of important impacts in our communities. Some CDFIs focus on investing in affordable housing, others on investing in community facilities, and others on investing in small businesses. Main Street Launch is a CDFI focused on serving small businesses in Oakland, San Francisco, and military family-owned businesses in California.
CDFIs serve borrowers who can’t access traditional loans and that lack of access is due to many different reasons. Some borrowers lack established credit, some borrowers lack profitability in their businesses, and some borrowers lack access to traditional lenders due to various other factors. CDFIs lend to these borrowers, enabling them to participate in the mainstream economy.
CDFI borrowers lack access to lending from traditional sources, and they also tend to represent underserved groups like people of color, low-income people, women, and residents of rural areas. In 2015, CDFIs invested $5 billion in low-income communities. This investment created over one million jobs, created 1.5 million affordable housing units, 9,800 community facilities, and 192,000 businesses (source) across the United States. This incredible investment is an important catalyst in local economies.
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