July 11, 2023
The Honorable Patty Murray
Chair, United States Senate Committee on Appropriations
Room S-128, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20510
RE: FY 2024 Programmatic Appropriations Request for CDFI Fund Programs
Dear Senator Murray:
On behalf of the African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs (the Alliance), I am writing to request your continued support for at least $341 million for the CDFI Fund program in the fiscal year (FY) 2024 appropriations process, as well as a continuation of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program with $500 million in guarantee authority. The Alliance is a national membership-based organization with a mission to empower Black communities by promoting economic stability, well-being, and wealth. Leveraging a network of 77 Black-led Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), the Alliance is working towards establishing power and promoting equal economic opportunity for Black individuals, families, and communities across all 50 states.
Economic opportunity is one cornerstone of a free and just nation, and it often starts with access to capital through a loan. Yet, millions of Americans cannot access traditional, fair financing because of discrimination or a lack of collateral. CDFIs are private sector financial institutions that invest, lend, and deliver responsible, affordable financial products and services to disinvested communities across the country. For more than 40 years, CDFIs have provided access to capital where it is needed most: CDFI customers are 83 percent low-income, 61 percent people of color, 47 percent women and 28 percent rural. Nationwide, there are more than 1,300 CDFIs certified by the US Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund.
Despite the recently enacted caps on spending, now is not the time to cut appropriations to the CDFI Fund. Communities are still recovering from the impact of the pandemic and need more investment, not less. Additionally, as interest rates continue to rise and regional banks pull back from offering credit, CDFIs are the ones to step in. The institutional-level capital from the CDFI Fund is essential to ensure CDFIs can meet the demand and keep capital affordable for the borrower. CDFI Fund dollars are particularly crucial for the Black-led CDFIs that make up the membership of the Alliance. These resources facilitate their efforts to narrow racial wealth disparities and support economic uplift in Black communities. With such funding, our member CDFIs are better equipped to deploy essential financial products and services, such as affordable credit, business capital, and homeownership opportunities, thereby promoting economic vitality and fostering social equity in the communities they serve.
The CDFI Fund’s grant programs provide equity capital that is critical to the continued growth of the CDFI industry. I urge you to provide an appropriation of at least $341 million for the CDFI Fund.
Thank you for your consideration of our request.
Lenwood V. Long, Sr., President and CEO
African American Alliance of CDFI CEOs