CHICAGO and MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago today announced that Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF), a national, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) based in Minneapolis, MN, has been named a partner of the Community First® Fund and is the recipient of a $5 million, 10-year loan. The Community First Fund is a $50 million revolving loan fund that provides direct support to community development financial institutions, community development loan funds, and state housing finance agencies serving Illinois and Wisconsin.
"Community Reinvestment Fund, USA has a proven track record of supporting small business growth and revitalizing surrounding communities – one of many reasons this organization is an ideal partner for the Community First Fund," said Suzi Thackston, Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. "With mission-based financing by the Community First Fund, we expect CRF will continue to be a catalyst for economic growth in Illinois and Wisconsin."
Certified as a CDFI in 2009, CRF has a 28-year history of supporting community economic development and helping other mission-driven organizations improve efficiency and build capacity. The organization has worked with community partners, investors, foundations, and philanthropists to deliver more than $2 billion in loans, investments, and bonds, resulting in the creation or preservation of 73,000 jobs, the financing of nearly 19,000 affordable housing units, and funding for clinics, schools, childcare centers, and other community facilities. Since its inception, CRF has funded over 1,700 small business loans, 550 of which were made to minority- and women-owned businesses. To date, the organization estimates that it has served 1.5 million people.
"Our partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and the Community First Fund provides CRF with affordable, fixed-rate capital, which is key to our ability to finance small business owners who have difficulty accessing conventional financing," said Frank Altman, President and CEO of CRF. "We are grateful for the opportunity to work together to support the development of healthy communities where people want to live, work, and educate their children."
With the help of the Community First Fund, CRF plans to finance up to 30 small businesses and create or retain 600 jobs in the metropolitan Chicago area and Wisconsin, originating at least 60% of these loans to minority-, women-, or veteran-owned businesses or small businesses located in low- and middle-income communities.
"True to our mission, CRF will use the funding to create measurable, transformative community impact in Illinois and Wisconsin," commented Keith Rachey, Chief Operating Officer of CRF. "We will finance job-creating small businesses that can help build wealth and move the needle on the staggering unemployment statistics for African Americans, Hispanics, veterans, and low-income communities."
The Community First Fund is unique in the Federal Home Loan Bank System and provides organizations with lower-interest-rate, longer-term financing that focuses on expanding their capacity for affordable housing and economic development lending in the communities they serve. Because the Community First Fund is a revolving loan fund, the Bank expects to be able to continue lending as loans are repaid, extending the life of the fund. The Community First Fund is separate from the Bank's Community Investment Cash Advances lending program. In addition, it is funded separately from the Bank's traditional grant programs – the competitive Affordable Housing Program and Downpayment Plus® Programs – which will continue to be funded by the Bank's previous year's net earnings.
About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago is a $71.8 billion wholesale bank serving the needs of member housing finance institutions located in Illinois and Wisconsin. Our mission is to partner with our member shareholders to provide them competitively priced funding, a reasonable return on their investment, and support for community investment activities.
The U.S. Congress created the Federal Home Loan Bank System, which includes 11 Federal Home Loan Banks, in 1932 to promote housing finance, but each Bank is wholly owned by its member institutions. For more information about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, please visit www.fhlbc.com or @FHLBC on Twitter. "Community First" and "Downpayment Plus" are registered trademarks of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.
About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA
Community Reinvestment Fund, USA, (CRF), a nonprofit organization and certified community development financial institution, is a national leader in bringing capital to underserved areas. Founded in 1988, CRF has injected more than $2 billion into low-income and economically disadvantaged communities around the country to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities. CRF's mission is to improve the lives of disadvantaged people and strengthen distressed communities through innovative finance. For more information, visit www.crfusa.com.
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago