New York State CDFI Coalition
In 1986, the Federation first introduced the idea of a “New York Corporation for Community Banking.” By 1990, we translated and expanded this concept into the “National Neighborhood Banking Corporation.” With support from our community development colleagues, the Federation co-founded what became the national Coalition of Community Development Financial Institutions. This coalition, made up by leaders from CDCUs, loan funds, micro-finance groups, venture capital funds, and community banks, pressed successfully for the establishment of the federal Community development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1994.
With this national success under our belt, the Federation established the New York Coalition of CDFIs in 1995. This coalition, which has been solely staffed and operated by the Federation was instrumental in advocating for the creation of a CDFI grant program through New York’s Division of Minority and Women’s Business and the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC).
While successful in extending between $1 and $1.5 million annually to New York CDFIs to support minority and women-owned small businesses, the program fell short of our full vision: establishing a full-scale state-level CDFI Fund to build institutional capital for the more than 100 CDFIs operating throughout New York, in much the same way that the federal fund has done nationally.
In 2006 the tide changed, and the Coalition brought the Senate leadership together with the New York State Banking Department and the Empire State Development Corporation to craft a bill that would house a state CDFI Fund. Unfortunately, that bill passed too late in the 2006 session for reconciliation with a version passed by the Assembly, but in 2007, through the Coalition’s advocacy, identical legislation creating the framework for a New York State CDFI Fund was introduced in the State Senate and Assembly. Those bills passed both chambers with strong bi-partisan support, and on July 3, 2007, Governor Eliot Spitzer signed the bills as Chapter 186 of the laws of 2007.
With a New York CDFI Fund enshrined in statute, the Coalition has focused on securing state funding to support the full range of activities that CDFIs engage in.
The goals of the New York Coalition of CDFIs include:
- Securing a yearly appropriation of $15 million to the New York CDFI Fund
- Maintaining a separate appropriation of $1.5 million to ESDC’s Minority and Women’s Business Lending CDFI grant program
- Raising the visibility of CDFIs within New York State’s economic development agenda