CRF history


Never mind the naysayers

The naysayers told us in the beginning, “Well, you’ll be lucky if you do
$3 or 4 million a year, this is really hard stuff.”

Really? CRF has now financed more than $2 billion to change lives and transform struggling neighborhoods into thriving communities.

It is “hard stuff,” but we won’t quit because we believe that everyone deserves a chance at the American Dream. Join us to create a better future for disadvantaged people and distressed communities across the country.



CRF launches Detroit Home Mortgage in early 2016 to help buyers overcome the appraisal gap problem in the city. The program was honored at the opening session of the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative America in June.

                   CRF issues $165 million in bonds in Round 4 of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program; the only qualified
                   issuer to participate in all four rounds.

                   CRF receives a $1.4 million Financial Assistance grant from the CDFI Fund.

                   CRF wins the Small Business Leader Award from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, the Surdna
                   Foundation, and Opportunity Finance Network.


CRF closes its 200th SBA 7(a) loan.

CRF receives a $55 million New Markets Tax Credit allocation.

                   Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses provides $5 million in new loan funds for small businesses
                   in the Twin Cities.

                   CRF launches SPARK, its online small business loan origination platform and announces partnership
                   with National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.

                   CRF issues $100 million bond in Round 3 of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program.

                   CRF launches Connect2Capital online small business lending platform.

                   CRF receives $2 million Financial Assistance grant from the CDFI Fund.


CRF approved as SBA 7(a) Preferred Lender under U.S. Small Business Administration's Preferred Lenders Program (PLP).

                   CRF receives $7 million grant to lead a collaborative of four CDFIs to jumpstart job creation in low- and
                   moderate-income communities.

                   CRF approved as first Qualified Issuer under the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. Issues $125 million in
                   Round 1 and $200 million in Round 2.

                   Ours to Own Twin Cities launched at the Clinton Global Initiative America as an efforts to invest in local
                   small businesses.


CRF is selected as one of only 14 nationwide non-banking institutions to offer the US Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) loan program.


Sam’s Club selects CRF as one of four finalists in the entrepreneurship category for its first-ever Giving Made Simple online charity initiative.


CRF and Altman receive the Social Capitalist Award (“45 Social Entrepreneurs Who Are Changing the World”) from Fast Company Magazine.


CRF becomes a Standard & Poor’s Select Loan Servicer.


CRF issues first rated debt offering.


Federal government allocates $162.5 million to CRF under tax credit. Allocations continue.


Altman and others create the New Markets Tax Credit program.

Early 1990s

Norwest Area Foundation, Norwest (now Wells Fargo), Dayton-Hudson (now Target), and US West (now Qwest) foundations give $5.6 million in seed money to jump-start CRF.


CRF issues first debt offering.


Frank Altman, along with Warren Hanson, President and CEO of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, conceive the CRF concept in response to uncertain community development funding.