Three people sitting at a wooden table with "Chillangos" on the wall behind them. The woman facing the camera has a piece of paper that she's pointing at while a man and woman in ball caps look on.

Certified CDFI

The Center for Rural Affairs has been lending to small businesses since 1990 and received our certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in 2013 to strengthen our approach to lending, education, and technical assistance. All CDFIs are certified by the U.S. Treasury, in part to ensure that at least 60% of businesses served are owned by low- and moderate-income people who may not otherwise have access to affordable business loans. 

CDFIs are lenders with a mission to provide fair, responsible financing with community development as a primary objective. The Center for Rural Affairs is a nonprofit, mission-driven lender focusing on underserved communities, primarily to rural, Latino, Native, and other communities that mainstream finance doesn’t traditionally reach. Where others see risk, we see opportunity.

Unlike traditional banks, we specialize in lending to individuals, organizations, and businesses in under-resourced communities, offering clients financial education, business coaching, and low-interest rate loans that increase economic potential and help build wealth.

In 2020, the Center for Rural Affairs' lending expanded to homeowners. We believe in building sustainable communities and that everyone living in rural America should have the opportunity to live a happy and fulfilling life.

In 2023, we began offering Food & Farm Business Loans to provide affordable, equitable, and flexible financing to strengthen our local food system, small businesses, and sustainable agriculture.