CHICAGO and ALMENA, Wis., March 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (Bank) today announced that Impact Seven, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) headquartered in Almena, Wisconsin, has been named a partner of the Community First® Fund and is the recipient of a $7 million, 10-year loan. The Community First Fund is a $50 million revolving loan fund that provides direct support to CDFIs, community development loan funds, and state housing finance agencies serving Illinois and Wisconsin.
"We are delighted to have Impact Seven as a Community First Fund partner," said Suzi Thackston, Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. "The Bank has supported Impact Seven's mission to provide affordable housing through our competitive Affordable Housing Program, and now our Community First Fund partnership enables us to also support the organization's business development initiatives."
Impact Seven helps economically distressed communities by providing services and development in business, housing, and property management. The organization offers flexible financing to bridge development gaps in communities facing credit risks that preclude traditional loans. Over the past five years, Impact Seven has directly financed more than $43 million in over 100 business expansion and housing projects across Wisconsin, more than half of which are located in rural areas. These investments have helped to create or preserve 2,650 jobs and 250 units of quality, affordable housing.
"Over the next decade, the success and viability of mission-based lenders such as Impact Seven will be defined by access to affordable, long-term capital," said Brett Gerber, CEO, Impact Seven. "The Community First Fund is a game changer for the community development industry—one that is expertly tailored to meet the needs of CDFIs at the intersection of mission-based investing and community banking. Impact Seven is proud to partner with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and to be a part of this innovative financing solution."
Funding will be used by Impact Seven to provide flexible loan capital for business expansion to foster job creation and investment in low-income communities; a portion of the funds will also support its affordable housing loan programs. Impact Seven expects to leverage the funds with loans from Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago member institutions to support the creation or retention of at least 700 jobs and/or up to 100 units of affordable housing over the term of the loan.
"Affordable Housing Program grants from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago have supported dozens of Impact Seven's affordable housing developments," added Gerber. "With the creation of the Community First Fund, the Bank is meeting our needs for long-term, affordable capital."
"Impact Seven helps expand opportunities for underserved communities in both rural towns and urban areas," said Thackston. "We look forward to our continued work with Impact Seven and are excited to see the results of this investment."
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 12 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 Impact Seven
Impact Seven is a nonprofit CDFI that was established in 1970 in rural northwestern Wisconsin. It builds capacity in underserved communities throughout the state and beyond, and provides innovative, socially-motivated investments and services. Impact Seven's commercial and residential real estate projects revitalize distressed communities through cross-sector partnerships and local involvement. Workable loans, equity investments, and technical assistance from Impact Seven support job-sustaining small- and medium-sized businesses unable to secure traditional financing. As Wisconsin's first New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) awardee in 2002, the organization today services a $169 million NMTC portfolio. Impact Seven manages a diverse portfolio of quality, affordable housing options for low-income families with over 1400 units, including 840 units set aside for elderly persons or persons with disabilities. Projects are located in 55 communities across the state, including many in rural areas and a growing urban portfolio in Milwaukee.
SOURCE Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago; Impact Seven