Center for Rural Affairs Rural Investment Corp. awarded $123,000 from US CDFI Fund U.S. Treasury awards $202 million to CDFIs to spur economic growth in low-income urban, rural, and native communities
LYONS, NE - Today, the Center for Rural Affairs announced that the Rural Investment Corporation (RIC), a subsidiary of the Center for Rural Affairs, recently received a $123,044 grant award from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund to support RIC’s organizational capacity through evaluation of market opportunities and product expansion, responding to customer demand with a new financing product - agricultural loans.
“We are excited and honored to receive this award from the CDFI Fund,” said Jeff Reynolds, Chief Operating Officer of the Rural Investment Corporation. “This award will be a driver in building RIC’s capacity through evaluating expanded market opportunities and product expansion while also improving operational capacity. The ability to efficiently serve our target market in an expanded area is a goal we are striving to achieve.”
A CDFI is a specialized financial institution dedicated to serving low-income individuals and communities that lack access to financial services from mainstream financial institutions. CDFIs offer loans for small and micro-sized businesses and provide services such as business planning and one-on-one counseling. In late 2013 the United States Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund officially certified the Rural Investment Corporation (RIC), a subsidiary of the Center for Rural Affairs, as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). RIC received its first CDFI Fund Technical Assistance award of $100,000 in 2012 to work towards CDFI certification and increase capital access for small business owners throughout rural Nebraska.
According to Reynolds, RIC provides microloans, small business loans, and development services to low-income communities across Nebraska. RIC will use its FY 2015 Technical Assistance award to support salaries, training, and travel for its staff, as well as to procure professional services to support the development of a new agricultural loan product and the expansion of its service area.
Due to the overwhelming need for services in rural Nebraska, the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP program started looking for better ways to build the scale and efficiency of the program. That is the reason that the Center for Rural Affairs has worked for the last several years pursuing a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certification for the organization.
The CDFI Fund invests in and builds the capacity of community credit unions, banks, loan funds, and other financial institutions serving rural and urban communities across the nation that lack adequate access to affordable financial products and services. Through the first 20 rounds of this program, the CDFI Fund has awarded more than $1.5 billion, helping build a nationwide network of more than 950 CDFIs located in every state, all focused on economically empowering the communities they serve.
The CDFI Fund awarded $202 million in grants and loans to 195 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the country through the latest rounds of the Community Development Financial Institutions Program (CDFI Program) and the Native American CDFI Assistance Program (NACA Program). RIC was one of three Nebraska CDFIs to receive awards this year. The other recipients are First Ponca Financial Inc. ($100,000) and Midlands Latino Community Development Corporation ($125,000).