Everybody’s Business

February 19, 2015

CRF chosen to participate in Small Business Finance Collaborative

OFN and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Announce Finance Collaborative Participants


Community Reinvestment Fund, USA is one of 24 lenders chosen nation-wide
to receive intensive training and peer-learning opportunities to
help small businesses succeed in underserved communities


Minneapolis, MN - February 19, 2015--Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses announced that Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) was selected as one of 24 mission-driven small business lenders to participate in the Small Business Finance Collaborative. This unique and intensive technical assistance program is designed to increase small business capacity in lending in underserved communities in the U.S.

Responsible, affordable credit is not readily available for small businesses, especially minority and women-led businesses, due to the decrease of mainstream finance serving this market. This new program will build the capacity of CDFIs (community development financial institutions) and other mission-driven lenders to deliver responsible and affordable loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs across the nation.

OFN will deliver the Finance Collaborative, providing 24 mission-driven small business lenders with an intensive two-year program of peer learning, training, and technical assistance. As a result, each participant will create and implement a strategic growth plan to improve lending strategies and practices, while maintaining asset quality. Participants will be expected to report regularly on growth goals and to adopt best practices. Funding is provided by Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses with additional support from Surdna Foundation.

"Our nation's economic recovery has been very uneven, with minority and women-led small businesses in underserved communities experiencing barriers to the credit they need to succeed. The participants in the Collaborative are uniquely positioned to reach these communities, helping owners avoid high cost loans. They will build strategies to aid small business and encourage sustainability, growth, and job creation," said Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of OFN.

The Small Business Finance Collaborative is built upon a successful prior initiative in 2011-2013 where participants reported doubling their assets, increasing their self-sufficiency ratio, and number of small businesses reached. Participants in the Finance Collaborative will expand on concepts learned in a previous training, including value proposition, innovation, talent management, and the lending life cycle. The curriculum's foundation is adapted from the Babson-designed Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses education program.

"Research shows that small businesses are the leading drivers of economic growth and job creation in this country.  Our partnership with OFN will continue to support mission-driven lenders, so that even more entrepreneurs gain access to the capital they need to succeed," said Esta Stecher, CEO of Goldman Sachs Bank USA. "These lenders were chosen because of their expertise and leadership in this area. We look forward to seeing the impact they will have in underserved communities."

CRF has been helping small businesses across the country access the financing they need to grow and create jobs for 27 years.

"CRF has a history of working with our industry colleagues to create new ways to deliver financing to underserved small business borrowers," said Keith Rachey, CRF's Chief Operating Officer. "We are excited to work with this outstanding group to enhance our industry's small business lending capabilities."

The Finance Collaborative members reflect the diversity of mission-driven small business lenders and approaches. Some participants have a national presence, while others serve local communities. Working in urban, rural, and Native communities, these lenders offer a range of lending products and business models. Collectively, the 24 participants have cumulative assets exceeding $862 million with over 7,500 small business loans outstanding totaling nearly $600 million. The 2015-2016 Small Business Finance Collaborative participants are:

- Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs, Inc. (ACE)
- Accion New Mexico - Arizona - Colorado - Nevada
- Bridgeway Capital
- Brooklyn Cooperative Federal Credit Union
- California Coastal Rural Development Corporation (Cal Coastal)
- CDC Small Business Finance
- CEI
- Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF)
- Community First Fund
- Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
- Craft3
- Entrepreneur Fund
- Excelsior Growth Fund
- Growth Capital
- Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation (KHIC)
- LiftFund, formerly known as Accion Texas
- Montana Community Development Corporation (Montana CDC)
- Northern Initiatives
- Pacific Community Ventures
- PIDC Community Capital (PIDC-CC)
- The Support Center
- Travois
- VEDC
- Virginia Community Capital (VCC)

About CRF

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), a nonprofit organization and certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), is a national leader in bringing capital to underserved areas. Founded in 1988, CRF has injected more than $1.5 billion into low-income and economically disadvantaged communities around the country to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities. CRF is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. For more information, visit www.crfusa.com

About Opportunity Finance Network

OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFN's Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at: www.ofn.org.

About Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses

Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses is a $500 million investment to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education, access to capital and business support services. The program is based on the broadly held view of leading experts that greater access to this combination of education, capital and support services best addresses barriers to growth. The program is active in urban and rural communities across the United States. Sites include Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, and Salt Lake City, as well as a National Cohort at Babson College. Access to capital is also available in parts of Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Virginia and Washington. For more information, visit www.gs.com/10000smallbusinesses

Press release

Posted by: CRFUSA

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