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ProfitWise News and Views, No. 3, 2015
IFF: A Leading Community Development Financial Institution Expanding Its Market Reach across the Midwest

Managing Editor’s Note: Community Development departments at Federal Reserve Banks have been mandated by the Fed’s Board of Governors since 1981. As part of its mandate, the Chicago Fed’s Community Development and Policy Studies (CDPS) division works to understand and document the roles and capacities of community development organizations (CDO). With a combination of public, private, and philanthropic funding, these organizations provide an array of services for our country’s vulnerable populations, and may offer investment or lending opportunities for financial institutions subject to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA); we periodically profile CDOs that operate in the Seventh Federal Reserve District. As a bank regulator, we want to know more about the partnerships between banks and a type of CDO known as community development financial institutions (CDFI). These catalysts in community development received a boost in 1995 when the CDFI Fund was established within the U.S. Treasury Department to provide grants and other funding to organizations that apply for and receive certification as CDFIs. Over time, CDFI lending has informed lending policy at mainstream banks and transformed perceptions of lending risk. Banking institutions also benefit (as partners) from CDFIs’ expertise in underwriting loans for nonprofits across sectors that work with low-income and underserved populations. In this edition, we profile one of the largest and most innovative CDFIs nationwide, IFF.

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