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ProfitWise News and Views, August 2007
The Evolving Roles of Mission-Focused Financial Intermediaries and Mainstream Financial Institutions in Community Development Finance

In 2005, the Federal Reserve System and the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program launched a national conference series to explore the state of the community development finance industry. A further goal was to document lessons and practices primarily from the for-profit sector, and introduce organization, productand industry-level innovations to increase the impact of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and other community development organizations. Prior research by Moy and others formed the basis for the series. This research showed that environmental changes related to public policy, (changes at the point of community development impact where, how and why community development investments occur) and sweeping advances in the mainstream financial services industry have significant implications for community development financial intermediaries. The research identified types of strategic partnerships and creative business models that the industry should consider to achieve greater scale (though not necessarily organizational size) and effectiveness. The conference series and attendant industry design/discussion sessions among practitioners, researchers and policy groups have given rise to new research initiatives, of which this is one.

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