Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Archive for the ‘Community Development’ Category

City of Austin Upcoming Bond Election Focus of March 19 Economic Perspectives

Posted by HH on March 18, 2012

Don Baylor

Don Baylor, a member of the City of Austin Bond Election Advisory Task Force will be a guest on the March 19 edition of Economic Perspectives at 5:30 p.m. central time on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Listen live online at

The City of Austin is planning a Bond Election where voters will get to decide whether the city should borrow money to fund specified city infrastructure, facilities, or other capital improvement projects or programs.  Four community meetings on potential projects for the Bond Election are scheduled for late March beginning on March 20.

The Task Force, City staff, and the community will work together over the next several months to identify and review potential projects and programs for future bond funding. In May 2012, the Task Force will provide recommendations for the City Council to consider when developing a potential bond package.

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Changing Texas Demographics and Accidental Management Focus of April 4th Economic Perspectives

Posted by nchanel on March 30, 2011

Hopeton Hay interviews Evan Smith, CEO and Editor- in-Chief of Texas Tribune and Jessica Looney of PeopleFund on their upcoming forum on the changing demographics in Texas. Listen live at KAZI 88.7 FM Austin or online here: He will also interview Hank Gilman, Deputy Managing Editor of Fortune Magazine on his new book You Can’t Fire Everyone and his lessons on becoming a manager.

Following that, Hopeton will interview a representative of the City of Austin about the proposed Urban Rail Line that will serve central Austin.  You can get more info at

The face of Texas is changing. Under that wide brim cowboy hat maybe something unexpected. PeopleFund presents PeopleTalk, an upcoming event featuring Evan Smith, on demographics, policy, and civic engagement.  Learn about changing Texas demographics and the impact on policies, your part in the Texas political process, greater civic engagement, and making room for a civil, informed discourse for a better and more productive Texas. Join the forum on Thursday, April 7th, 11:30 AM – 1:00 PM at the Alamo Drafthouse, South Lamar. Tickets are available in advance or at the door; purchase includes salad and pizza from the Alamo Drafthouse. Buy tickets here!

About People Fund:

PeopleFund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 1994 as Austin Community Development corporation, they provide loans, financial and technical assistance to people who are left out of the financial mainstream.  In 2008, they founded PeopleTrust, a non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to creating and maintaining affordable housing in Texas. PeopleFund is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury

About Evan Smith:

Evan Smith is the CEO and editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, which, in its first year in operation, won two national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association and a General Excellence Award from the Online News Association. Previously he spent nearly 18 years at Texas Monthly, stepping down in August 2009 as the magazine’s president and editor-in-chief. On his watch, Texas Monthly was nominated for 16 National Magazine Awards, the magazine industry’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, and twice was awarded the National Magazine Award for General Excellence. He currently hosts a new show, Overheard with Evan Smith, that airs on PBS stations nationally. A New York native, Smith has a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., and a master’s degree in journalism from the Medill School at Northwestern University.

Also Featured,

Hopeton also interviews Hank Gilman about his fortunate lessons on developing into a manger and what they mean for you and your business.

His book, You Can’t Fire Everyone: and Other Lessons from an Accidental Manager, tells Gilman coming of age in management. Gilman is the opposite of a slick management guru. He’s an old-school journalist who was suddenly given responsibility for a bunch of other journalists. In other words, he was an accidental manager, just like millions of others who never trained for the challenges of being a boss. Drawing on his wealth of experience (i.e. countless screw-ups) and with wry humor, Gilman shares the finer points of what it takes to be a great boss. He covers everything from whether you should try to be friends with your staff (Don’t) to what will happen if you tell someone about to go on vacation to “think about how you can do things differently” (You will burn in hell!).

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President of Austin African American Chamber of Commerce and Community Development Public Forum Focus of March 7th Economic Perspectives

Posted by nchanel on March 3, 2011

Clarence Goins, the new president of the Capital City African American Chamber of Commerce, will be the guest on Economic Perspectives on Monday, March 7th, at 5:30pm. Hopeton Hay will also interview a representative from the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department about the city’s upcoming public forums for the allocation of funds for housing and community development. Listen live at KAZI 88.7 FM Austin or online here:
Prior to joining the Chamber, Goins held several management positions with the Comptroller of Public Accounts for the State of Texas. He replaces Interim President Juanita Stephens. Goins will discuss his plans for promoting the growth and development of African American-owned businesses.
Founded in 1982, the Capital City African-American Chamber of Commerce promotes the development of African American businesses and the expansion of the business community by providing resources, technical assistance, and leadership on policy issues that enhance economic growth and by promoting convention and tourism.
For more information on the Capital City African American Chambers of Commerce,
Also featured is a representative from the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development. As a result of the African-American Quality of Life Initiative of 2005 African American businesses now have more opportunity to provide input on the plans for the federal funds before decisions are made on how the funds will be allocated.
The City of Austin anticipates cuts to federal funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in fiscal year 2011-12. This federal funding assists with affordable housing, community development, economic development, and public service needs. Neighborhood Housing and Community Development invites you to provide feedback about community needs and how federal and local funds should be prioritized. View upcoming public hearings. Neighborhood meetings are listed below.
Neighborhood Meetings:
Wed., March 9th, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Montopolis Recreation Center, 1200 Montopolis Dr.
Tues., March 22nd, 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Hancock Community Center- Room 3, 811 E. 41st St.
Wed., March 23rd, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Parque Zaragosa Recreation Center, 2608 Gonzales St.

Posted in Austin, Business, Community Development, Economic Development, Government, minority business, small business | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Collective Leadership and Community Technology Symposium Focus of February 28th Economic Perspectives

Posted by nchanel on February 26, 2011

 Mehrdad Baghai, author of As One: Individual and Collective Power will be the guest on Economic Perspectives on Monday, February 28th at 5:30pm-6:00pm.  Hopeton Hay also interviews Juanita Budd, Executive Director of Austin-Free Net. Listen live at KAZI 88.7 FM Austin or online here:

Like a school of fish moving synchronously together with one goal in mind; easy for fish, not so easy for humans. How can we get everyone on the same page in business and accomplish goals more efficiently? Our world is as much about cooperation as it is about conflict; as much about collaboration as competition. Leaders who have been trained in the command-and-control mode of management are realizing that it often fails to truly engage people.

For the past two years Deloitte has invested in a major global initiative, the As One project, to study effective collaborations. The project has discovered that there are eight archetypes of leaders and followers. Taking more than 60 cases of successful collective behavior, the authors define the characteristics for each model and show how you can apply them to your organization. As One claims to show you a new way to lead, and to get your team working to reach all your goals.

Also featured, Juanita Budd will discuss Austin-Free Net’s  Second Annual Community Technology Symposium March 1, 2011 at the AMD campus on Southwest Parkway. 

 Austin Free-Net provides technology training and access for the community, fostering skills that enable people to succeed in a digital age. The Austin Free-Net has come together with the City of Austin and Skillpoint Alliance to form a partnership called Austin Connects which is sponsoring the technology symposium.

This event will bring together leadership from local nonprofits, government and business to share ideas and solutions to strengthen digital inclusion efforts. Topics include Community Technology Resources, DigitalStorytelling, Technology Education and more. The Keynote Speaker is Kami Griffiths, Executive Director of the Community Technology Network (serving the Bay Area) and Training and Outreach Manager at TechSoup. For more information please visit

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Economic Development Expert Richard Florida & Negotiator George Lucas Featured on Economic Perspectives October 18

Posted by HH on October 18, 2010

An interview with Richard Florida, author of The Great Reset: How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity, is featured on the first segment of October 18 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM.  The second segment features an interview with George Lucas, co-author of the The One Minute Negotiator. Listen live online at

Looking toward the future, Florida identifies the patterns that will drive the next Great Reset and transform virtually every aspect of our lives—from how and where we live, to how we work, to how we invest in individuals and infrastructure, to how we shape our cities and regions. Florida shows how these forces, when combined, will spur a fresh era of growth and prosperity, define a new geography of progress, and create surprising opportunities for all of us.

Florida is also the author of the global bestseller The Rise of the Creative Class and Who’s Your City?, a national and international bestseller and book of the month. He is a regular correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly and a regular columnist for The Globe and Mail. He has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Economist, and The Harvard Business Review.

In The One Minute Manager, Lucas and his co-author Don Hutson say that the key to successful negotiation  is flexibility. Most books on negotiation preach one of two gospels: thou shalt collaborate or thou shalt compete. Either everybody works together toward a common goal or the process is basically adversarial. The problem is no two negotiations are alike — one strategy cannot fit all. The One Minute Negotiator teaches you four potential strategies and shows how to choose the one best suited to the situation, your own inclinations, and the strategy being used by the other side.

Lucas is a senior consultant and member of the board of directors for U.S. Learning.  He has conducted negotiation seminars on six continents and is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Contented Achiever and Marketing Strategy.

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Banking Regulator Calls for Redesign of Community Reinvestment Act

Posted by HH on April 22, 2010

Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan discussed the role of the Community Reinvestment Act during a speech on April 20 before the Federal Economic Development Forum.  A portion of his speech where he calls for redesigning CRA is excerpted below.  To read the entire speech click here.

…In light of all these changes, I think it is it time to think about redesigning CRA.  That, of course, raises a number of key questions and issues, which is exactly what I would like to put before you in the remainder of my remarks.

John Dugan

An obvious threshold question is whether CRA should be expanded to cover a broader range of entities that provide financial services affecting communities.  Is it time, as some have suggested, to consider expanding CRA to certain non-bank affiliates and subsidiaries of bank and thrift holding companies?  Or should we take a more holistic approach to activities conducted within regulated bank and thrift holding companies, recognizing that these companies have the ability to allocate many activities to different legal entities, only some of which may be covered by CRA?

Should redesign be based on recognition of the changed roles of nonbank financial services providers, extending coverage to nonbank firms that provide credit and other financial services that can meaningfully impact community well being, such as credit unions and mortgage companies?  And if we expand coverage in these ways, what would be the rationale for the expansion?

If CRA was originally premised – at least in part – on the benefit of a form of government support, deposit insurance, should an expansion of CRA be based on new types of government support that are available to financial firms other than insured banks and thrifts?  I have heard the rationale advanced that a broader range of financial services firms benefit from access to other federal programs or charter privileges that should obligate them to do more for communities.  Is access to Federal liquidity funding or access to Federal guarantees appropriate justification for enhanced CRA responsibilities?

Some advocates point to the Federal government’s support during the financial crisis to justify CRA’s expansion to a much broader array of financial services providers.  Mutual funds received temporary deposit insurance coverage.  And the TALF and TARP programs provided important market support that benefitted a range of financial firms, including investment banks and insurance companies…

To read the entire speech click here.

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LA County Commissioner to Discuss Economic Development on Economic Perspectives December 7

Posted by HH on December 7, 2009

Los Angeles County Commissioner Kenia Davalos will discuss economic development strategies for underserved communities on the December 7 edition of Economic Perspectives on KAZI 88.7 FM, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. central time.  The interview can be listened to live online at  Davalos was one of the keynote speakers at the PeopleFund Conference on Economic Opportunity on October 24 in Austin, Texas.

Kenia Davalos

For more than 10 years, Davalos has worked within the private, non-profit, and government sectors as an advocate for the Latino business community. Her career includes distinguished tenures at the White House, U.S. Small Business Administration, Latino Issues Forum, The Greenlining Institute, American Express, and now the Los Angeles County as a 2nd term County Commissioner. With such distinctions as “Philanthropist of the Year” (2002) and “Advocate of the Year” (2004) by the Latino Business Association, Kenia’s professional life has been dedicated to empowering Hispanic business owners. In 2001, while serving as Market Development Manager for American Express, Davalos developed and promoted an innovative marketing strategy through which proceeds of the American Express Community Express/ Latin Business Association credit card were donated to non-profit organizations promoting small business development. Featured in various publications on both a national and international level, Davalos’ experience as entrepreneur, advocate, and elected official gives her a comprehensive perspective on the challenges of economic development in minority communities.

Posted in Business, Community Development, Hispanics, Interview, Radio | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Bank Regulator’s View of the Mortgage Crisis and the Community Reinvestment Act

Posted by HH on May 15, 2009

Barry Wides, Deputy Comptroller for Community Affairs for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) will discuss the erroneous connection that has been made between the mortgage crisis and the Community Renivestment Act (CRA) on the May 18 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. on KAZI 88.7 FM.  Enclosed below are selected excerpts from a statement on the mortgage crisis and CRA given by Deputy Comptroller Wides at the public briefing of the United States Commission on Civil Rights on March 20, 2009.

…Let me start off by assuring you, unequivocally, that CRA is not the culprit behind the abuses in subprime mortgage lending nor the broader credit quality issues in the marketplace, as some have suggested. CRA lending and investment has been responsibly underwritten and conducted in a safe and sound manner. The CRA was enacted by Congress in 1977 to encourage banks and thrifts to increase their lending and services to low- and moderate-income persons and areas in their communities consistent with safe and sound banking.  It also requires the federal financial supervisory agencies to assess the record of each covered institution in helping to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low- and moderate-income individuals and neighborhoods.

Barry Wides

Barry Wides

The CRA applies only to banks and savings associations whose deposits are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Affiliates of insured depositories that are not themselves insured depository institutions are not directly subject to the CRA, nor are credit unions or independent mortgage companies. ..

There has been much public discussion over the past several months concerning whether CRA may have contributed to the mortgage crisis. This discussion has focused on the connection between CRA-related lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers and what some allege to be a disproportionate representation in failing subprime loans.

The OCC and other Federal banking regulatory agencies have been looking at this question in some detail, and all four agencies have concluded that CRA was not responsible for the current mortgage crisis. 3 In analyzing independent studies and comprehensive home lending data sets, we have concluded that only a small portion of subprime mortgage originations are related to the CRA.

CRA-related loans appear to perform comparable to or better than other types of subprime loans. For example, single-family CRA-related mortgages offered in conjunction with NeighborWorks organizations have performed on par with standard conventional mortgages.  Foreclosure rates within the NeighborWorks network were just 0.21 percent in the second quarter of 2008, compared to 4.26 percent of subprime loans and 0.61 percent for conventional conforming mortgages. Similar conclusions were reached in a study by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital, which indicates that high-cost subprime mortgage borrowers default at much higher rates than those who take out loans made for CRA purposes.  Overwhelmingly, CRA lending has been safe and sound.

The Federal Reserve Board (FRB) has reported extensively on these findings for all CRA loans. A FRB study of 2005 – 2006 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data showed that banks subject to CRA and their affiliates originated or purchased only six percent of the reported higher-priced loans made to lower-income borrowers within their CRA assessment areas.6 The FRB also found that less than 2 percent of the higher-priced and CRA credit-eligible mortgage originations sold by independent mortgage companies in 2006 were purchased by CRA-covered institutions. FRB loan data analysis also found that 60 percent of higher-priced loan originations went to middle- or higher-income borrowers or neighborhoods and, further, that more than 20 percent of the higher-priced loans extended to lower-income borrowers or borrowers in lower-income areas were made by independent non-bank institutions that are not covered by CRA.

OCC analysis of the lending of banks that we regulate also confirms that the vast majority of subprime loans were not originated by national banks supervised by the OCC. In 2006, subprime lending by national banks amounted roughly to 10 percent of the total of subprime mortgage originations by all lenders.8 Further, our analysis also shows that subprime and Alt-A loans originated by national banks defaulted at a lower rate than those originated by non-bank lenders.9 Our analysis compared the foreclosure start rates for loans originated between 2005 and 2007 that were placed in subprime and Alt-A securities. The loans originated by OCC-regulated institutions defaulted at roughly two-thirds the rate of comparable loans originated by non-bank lenders.

In conclusion, I want to reiterate my belief that CRA has made a positive contribution to community revitalization across the country and has generally encouraged sound community development lending, investment, and service initiatives by regulated banking organizations. Only a small percentage of higher priced loans were originated by CRA-regulated lenders to either lower-income borrowers or in neighborhoods in the banks’ CRA assessment areas. Similarly, banks purchased only a small percentage of higher-priced, CRA-eligible loans originated by independent mortgage companies. Finally, the performance of higher-cost loans originated by national banks is markedly better than loans originated by non-bank institutions…

For the full text of the statement click here.

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The Community Reinvestment Act Did Not Cause the Subprime Mortgage Meltdown

Posted by HH on May 14, 2009

By Hopeton Hay

With the crisis in the American banking and finance system, there is a growing chorus of voices attempting to lay some of the blame for the subprime mortgage meltdown at the feet of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and efforts to promote homeownership for low income and minority families.  Last October in a column on the financial crisis called The Roots of Our Disaster in the Austin American Statesman, columnist Scott Burns referred to the Community Reinvestment Act as one of the “Four Horseman of Our Apocalypse.”   He blamed “innovations to mortgages to comply with CRA” charging that it forced “the institutional reduction of lending standards.”

Hopeton Hay

Hopeton Hay

Others have argued that the efforts by Congress, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Fannie Mae, and others to increase homeownership in low income and minority communities played a significant role in the subprime mortgage debacle.  At the same time however, CRA advocates expressed strong concern about the growth of subprime lending in low income and minority communities

If CRA and promoting increased homeownership in the minority community played major role in the subprime disaster, why did that occur now?  CRA has been around since 1977, enforced in earnest since 1989, and enjoyed unprecedented federal support during the Clinton Administration. It was in 1989 that Congress enacted the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”), which amended the CRA, giving it more teeth, and required collection of data on home loans by race.  In 1994 HUD launched the National Homeownership Strategy. 

When one reviews the rules of CRA and the concerns expressed by CRA advocates with subprime mortgage lending to minorities it renders those arguments baseless.

So what is CRA and does it require financial institutions to loosen underwriting standards loans to comply?  According to the Community Reinvestment Act and Interstate Deposit Production Regulations, CRA requires federal financial supervisory agencies “to assess an institution’s record of helping to meet the credit needs of the local communities in which the institution is chartered, consistent with the safe and sound operation of the institution, and to take this record into account in the agency’s evaluation of an application for a deposit facility by the institution.”

Well the first thing of note is that CRA applies to depository institutions. According to testimony on CRA provided to the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee on February 8, 2008 by University of Michigan Law Professor Michael Barr, more than half the subprime mortgages were originated by independent mortgage companies in 2005.  That is half the subprime mortgages were made by lenders not being examined for compliance to CRA. 

The second important fact from the CRA rules is the expectation that credit needs are met in a safe and sound manner.  Now the rules do encourage some underwriting flexibility.  The rules state that “Banks are permitted and encouraged to develop and apply flexible underwriting standards for loans that benefit low- or moderate-income geographies or individuals only if consistent with safe and sound operations.”   Yes, flexibility is encouraged, but not mandated, but it still must be done in a safe and sound manner.  There is a section in CRA rules called safe and sound operations that says “the CRA does not require a bank to make loans or investments or to provide services that are inconsistent with safe and sound operations. “ 

Some of the leading CRA advocates expressed concern about the use of subprime loans long before the meltdown.  Many of them felt that racial minorities and low income communities were being disproportionately targeted by subprime lenders.  In 2002, the Center for Community Change’s Neighborhood Revitalization Project published a report, Risk or Race? Racial Disparities and the Subprime Refinance Market.  In the executive summary of the report, the Center for Community Change declares its concern thathigh foreclosure rates for subprime loans indicate that many subprime borrowers are entering into mortgage loans they cannot afford.”

Also in 2002, the Southwest Regional Office of Consumers Union published the report, Minority Subprime Borrowers.  Like the report from the Center for Community Change, the report focused on the disproportionate number of subprime loans being made in minority communities, but examined it from a Texas perspective and looked only at home refinancing. The report recognized the danger of subprime lending saying that,  “Subprime lending can have disastrous consequences for low income and minority communities.”  Consumers Union went even further recommending state legislation that would “require loan counseling for any borrower getting a high cost loan during the existing 12 day waiting period before the loan closes” and “prohibit lending without due regard to repayment ability.”

In the 2005 report by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), The 2005 Fair Lending Disparities: Stubborn and Persistent II, concern about the impact of subprime lending was again the major focus. “Our analysis revealed a disproportionate amount of high-cost lending targeted to vulnerable borrowers and communities…,” wrote NCRC.

“Further,” comments NCRC, “ the pervasiveness of subprime lending in communities of color, in all regions and in metropolitan areas of all sizes, raises important public policy concerns about possible adverse implications stemming from these heavy geographic concentrations.”

As the information above clearly reveals, CRA advocates identified the threat of subprime lending long before it threatened the financial stability of our banking industry and were concerned about its heavy concentration in low income and minority communities.  They clearly did not support market driven subprime lending with little regulation.  Also, while CRA did give banks permission to modify underwriting to meet the lending needs of low to moderate income communities, it was not a requirement, and the regulators made it plain that it should be done in a safe and sound manner.  As articles written recently in the New York Times document, it was the desire for quick and easy profits more than anything that drove many of the decisions that led to the subprime meltdown.

Hopeton Hay is editor and publisher of the Economic Perspectives blog and chairman of the Economic Development Committee of the Texas NAACP.  He also spent 5 1/2 years working for the NAACP Community Development Resource Center, a CRA partnership between the NAACP and Bank of America.

Posted in Banking, Community Development, Credit, Finance, Housing, Predatory Lending | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Obama’s Budget Will Double Funding for Community Development Financial Institututions in FY 2010 If Approved

Posted by HH on May 8, 2009

President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2010 budget more than doubles funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. The President’s budget requests $243.6 million for the CDFI Fund – a 127 percent increase over the $107 million appropriated for FY 2009.

The CDFI Fund expands the capacity of financial institutions to provide credit, capital, and financial services to underserved populations and communities in the United States.

Donna Gambrell

Donna Gambrell

“The President’s 2010 budget request for the CDFI Fund clearly demonstrates a strong commitment of support to our critical mission of serving distressed communities,” said CDFI Fund Director Donna J. Gambrell. “Beyond the increased funding for our current programs, the inclusion of funding for the Native Initiatives, Capital Magnet Fund, a new research initiative, and proposed legislative enhancements, will all work together to expand the CDFI Fund’s ability to further economic development in communities most in need.”

Highlights of the 2010 budget request for the CDFI Fund include:

  • $243.6 million for the CDFI Fund, which represents a 127 percent increase in total funding;
  • $113.6 million, a 90 percent increase in funding for the CDFI Program to boost investments and other financial services in underserved communities;
  • $80 million for the Capital Magnet Fund, a newly authorized program to increase capital investment for the development, preservation, rehabilitation, or the purchase of affordable housing for low-, very low-, and extremely low-income families;
  • The first Administration budget to specifically include funding ($10 million) for the CDFI Fund’s Native Initiatives, which assist Native Communities (Native American, Alaskan Native and Native Hawaiian communities) to overcome certain barriers to financial services;
  • A new research initiative to conduct strategic research that will analyze the impact and outcomes of the CDFI Fund’s programs, including the effect of changing economic conditions; and
  • Legislative enhancements to the CDFI Fund’s programs to enable greater access to capital for distressed communities

For more information onthe CDFI Fund FY 2010 proposed budget and its justification, click here.

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