CRF in the news

January 9, 2018

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and U.S. Bank Partner to Expand Access to Credit for Small Businesses

Connect2Capital platform will connect small businesses to responsible lending options from Community Development Financial Institutions

MINNEAPOLIS--Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) - a mission-driven non-profit lender dedicated to improving communities and transforming lives - announced today that it has partnered with U.S. Bank to deliver a new solution for connecting small business borrowers with responsible lending options from community-based lenders across the country.

Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, providing jobs, essential goods and services and generating local tax revenue. There are approximately 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for more than 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2013. However, the Federal Reserve Bank's 2016 Small Business Credit Survey found the most common challenge facing small businesses was "credit availability or securing funds for expansion."

CRF's Connect2Capital platform is a new way to support small businesses that do not qualify for traditional credit products by matching them with other flexible sources of financing from mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs like CRF and its partners play a vital role in the U.S. economy, providing critical access to capital in historically underinvested communities. A network of more than 1,000 CDFIs operates nationwide, united by a common mission to expand economic opportunity and help Main Street businesses and communities grow and thrive.

Along with support from a group of leading CDFIs, CRF developed Connect2Capital to make it easier for financial institutions and their small business customers to navigate a national network of community lenders who operate independently. While referral partnerships between individual CDFIs and banks are common, this program leverages technology to streamline the experience and vastly increase the number of small businesses served by CDFIs.

"CRF has more than 30 years of experience investing in communities and small businesses to create jobs and economic vitality," said Frank Altman, founder and CEO of CRF. "With our new U.S. Bank partnership, together we're helping to fulfill our mission of empowering people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions."

The partnership also allows U.S. Bank to retain business banking relationships with small businesses that don't qualify for traditional lending products, but are good candidates for CDFI lending and advisory services. Ultimately, CDFIs strive to help build the credit and capacity of small businesses so they can become eligible for traditional lending products from the bank in the future. By connecting these borrowers with CDFI lenders, U.S. Bank can monitor progress and results, reaching out to businesses when the time is right for further financing needs.

"We think of Connect2Capital as an online matchmaking service for borrowers and CDFI lenders," said Steve SaLoutos, Metropolitan Bank Division Manager for U.S. Bank. "Any time we can support mission-driven lenders that strengthen local economies in the communities where we do business, it benefits the entire financial ecosystem."

U.S. Bank is one of the first financial institutions to initiate a nationwide referral partnership with CDFIs. Although banks have historically been important sources of capital for CDFIs, U.S. Bank's partnership with CRF and Connect2Capital is a blueprint for broader engagement and impact that will ultimately help thousands of small business owners access the capital they need to create jobs and invest in their communities.

To learn more about how the Connect2Capital marketplace delivers transparent and responsible financing options to small businesses, visit

About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports mission-driven organizations through the development of products and services aimed at increasing the flow of capital to historically underinvested communities across the country. CRF has injected more than $2.4 billion to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities. For more information, visit

About U.S. Bank
U.S. Bancorp, with 73,000 employees and $459 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its branch and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, small business, wealth management, payment, wholesale and securities services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company. In 2016, U.S. Bank contributed $54.2 million to nonprofit organizations across the country through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate contributions. Additionally, employees donated more than 219,000 volunteer hours creating opportunities at work, home and play across the country. Visit U.S. Bank online or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.


For Community Reinvestment Fund, USA:
David Hlavac, 612-803-3350

Full press release here.

Posted by: CRFUSA

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September 26, 2017

JPMorgan Chase kicks off Denver Startup Week with grants for underserved entrepreneurs

DENVER - Chase for Business is returning as a title sponsor of Denver Startup Week, and will spotlight programs that assist Denver's underserved entrepreneurs, plus engage U.S. Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon in a conversation focusing on startups and entrepreneurs.

Chase's highlights include:

Community investment announcement at kickoff
At the Monday kickoff breakfast at the Seawell Ballroom, JPMorgan Chase & Co. will announce $300,000 total in philanthropic investments - $60,000 each - to five Colorado nonprofit organizations that help Denver's underserved entrepreneurs. The nonprofits receiving grants are: Accion, Colorado Enterprise Fund, The Commons on Champa, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA and Mi Casa Resource Center. (See next page for details).

JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s support of these nonprofits is part of the firm's global Small Business Forward program, a $75 million three-year effort that connects underserved women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses with capital, targeted technical assistance and support networks to help them grow and succeed.

Fireside Chat with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon
Chase Business Banking CEO Andrew Kresse hosts a conversation with SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. Their discussion will touch on SBA's support of small business owners and entrepreneurs in Denver and around the country. Topics will include small business policy initiatives and how the SBA can help entrepreneurs gain access to capital and counseling.
Thursday, Sept. 28, 10-11 a.m., Chase Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

 Access to Flexible Capital, Training and Technical Assistance
Underserved entrepreneurs, such as people of color, women, and those with lower incomes, encounter barriers to entry into the startup world. This panel will highlight the work local organizations are doing to help entrepreneurs gain access to capital, training and technical assistance; shed light on some of the challenges these small businesses face; and provide recommendations on how to overcome these barriers.
Tuesday, Sept. 26, 10-11 a.m., Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

Capital Formation: Funding Your Dream
Ricardo McKenzie, Executive Director with J.P. Morgan Private Capital Markets, and Carly Levin, Head of J.P. Morgan NEXT, will host a discussion with local entrepreneurs who have battled to build their companies and fund their growth trajectory from startup to late stage financing, with details on the private market and examples of deals that have been completed during the last few years.
Wednesday, Sept. 27, 12-1:30 p.m., Basecamp at The Commons on Champa, 1245 Champa St.

$300,000 in investments to nonprofits assisting underserved entrepreneurs

On Sept. 25, JPMorgan Chase will announce philanthropic investments of $60,000 each to the nonprofits listed below. These investments are part of the firm's global Small Business Forward program, a $75 million three-year effort that connects underserved women, minority and veteran-owned small businesses with capital, targeted technical assistance and support networks to help them grow and succeed.

Accion. By offering character-based business loans at affordable rates to economically underserved and vulnerable entrepreneurs, Accion bridges the credit gap that hinders community and economic development and prevents entrepreneurs from succeeding. The grant will support Accion's ability to make loans and provide financial education and technical assistance to aspiring and existing entrepreneurs across Colorado, with a focus on underserved entrepreneurs, such as people of color, women, and those with low incomes.

Colorado Enterprise Fund (CEF). CEF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), and strives to accelerate community prosperity by financing and supporting entrepreneurs and small businesses. The grant will help CEF provide access to capital for underserved entrepreneurs. Grant funds also will help provide outreach and technical assistance as part of its lending program, including continued work with healthy food businesses. Prior to this current grant, JPMorgan Chase's annual PRO Neighborhoods CDFI Collaborative competition provided a $2 million, 3-year grant to some CDFIs called the ReFresh Collaborative. From that grant, $400,000 was allocated to CEF for participation in ReFresh to help CEF scale its Healthy Foods Fund, which finances food production, small grocery retail, local food distribution, and other Colorado healthy food businesses. The Healthy Foods Fund aims to improve access to fresh, healthy food and to promote economic and health benefits for communities designated as "food deserts." To date, CEF's Healthy Foods Fund has made 49 loans to 44 businesses in Colorado for a total of $2.4 million, which has helped create or retain 187 jobs.

The Commons on Champa. The Commons is a resource center supporting economic development, innovation, and entrepreneurship to keep Denver as one of the best places in the country to start and grow a business. The grant will support programs for underserved entrepreneurs, including women, military veterans and minority populations. They will provide group/cohort training, one-on-one technical assistance, resource connectivity and referrals, support programs and networking events.

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF). CRF's mission is to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. This grant will support CRF's Patient Capital program in Denver, focusing on lending for underserved entrepreneurs. Prior to this current grant, CRF in 2014 was part of a CDFI collaborative, Emerging Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Cluster Initiative, which received a PRO Neighborhoods $7 million, 3-year grant. The collaborative, which focused on a number of cities and rural communities across the country, provided almost $170 million through 309 loans that helped create or retain 4,463 jobs, which included 400 jobs in Colorado and 23 CRF loans in Colorado totaling $12.2 million.

Mi Casa Resource Center. Mi Casa works to advance the economic success of Latino and working families by expanding opportunities for educational, professional and entrepreneurial advancement. The grant will support the organization's program for underserved entrepreneurs, which includes one-on-one technical assistance (available in English and Spanish); courses for startups and existing businesses; and outreach to make the community aware of these programs.

Quotes from the organization's leaders:

"We are tremendously grateful to Chase," said Accion President and CEO Anne Haines. "Chase's financial support helps fuel the growth of Accion-funded businesses in Colorado and enables local business owners to provide jobs in their communities."
Media contact: Brinn Pfeiffer, 720-498-3828, main 800-508-7624,

Colorado Enterprise Fund
"We are very honored to receive this grant that will enable Colorado Enterprise Fund to serve more Colorado businesses with access to affordable capital and business advisory services," said Ceyl Prinster, CEF's President and CEO. "It will expand our partnership with JPMorgan Chase to advance economic opportunity and prosperity in underserved communities by supporting small businesses, which are the engine of our economy. CEF will leverage this grant with other public and private sources of funding to maximize impact in our Colorado communities."
Media contact: Alisa Zimmerman, 720-473-4069, cell 303-921-0441,

The Commons on Champa
"The Commons on Champa was founded to grow Downtown Denver's culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. By reducing barriers to entry and supporting entrepreneurs from all walks of life start and grow businesses we are creating a stronger, more integrated entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership and co-founder of The Commons on Champa. "Economic growth and city-wide prosperity happens when entrepreneurs come together to create community, share ideas and empower themselves, and we thank JPMorgan Chase for their continued support to help ensure that The Commons is a place where this can happen every day."
Media contact: Brea Olson, 303- 775-4712,

Community Reinvestment Fund, USA
"We are grateful for Chase's continued support of CRF's mission," said Brian Burke, Vice President of Business Lending for CRF. "With small business owners struggling to find access to flexible capital, this grant will help us reach more underserved entrepreneurs and continue to create positive impact in underinvested communities throughout Denver."
Media contact: Kavita Wishart, 612-224-9594,

Mi Casa Resource Center
"JP Morgan Chase's investment allows Mi Casa Resource Center to target some business training on upcoming infrastructure projects. Our established construction-related entrepreneurs deserve the opportunity to benefit from some of the largest regional projects in a generation, such as Central 70, National Western Center, DIA and the re-development of Sun Valley," Monique Lovato, CEO of Mi Casa Resource Center.
Media contact: Michele Soli, 303-539-5613,

press release

Posted by: CRFUSA

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June 24, 2015

Nerdwallet: 5 Important Things to Know About Community Lenders

CRF's Brian Burke provided his expertise for an article on how community development financial institutions (CDFIs) may able to help small business owners who have been turned down for a loan by traditional banks.

Read the article

Posted by: CRFUSA

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