Music to My Ears: The Financial Services Sector Helping Build the Capacity of CDFIs
How many of you still remember when CDs made you think of music? I still remember using the association of music CDs to get consumers interested in opening checking or savings accounts and Certificates of Deposits (CDs). Today it is CDFIs that are a focus for me. Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) are organizations that aim to provide capital and technical assistance to families, individuals and small business owners who are unable to receive traditional bank loans. Their customers live in underserved communities and often require more flexible loans compared to those offered by traditional financial institutions.
CDFIs also aid in community development, increase access to capital, create jobs and provide an opportunity for affordable housing. Often, certified CDFIs offer financial literacy programs that are as unique and tailored to their customers as their financial services and products. As in all financial literacy programs the goal is for consumers to make informed decisions, and never is this more important that in economically distressed communities. Knowledge is power and financial literacy can help empower those in low-income areas with the knowledge and skills needed to graduate into the financial mainstream.