Midwest's Top-Rated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), IFF, Opens First Office in Iowa

Jun 12, 2012, 09:12 ET from IFF

As Government Aid Shrinks, CDFIs' Leveraging of Private Resources Grows in Importance

CHICAGO, June 12, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With government support for low-income communities constrained by budget austerity and a sluggish economy, community development financial institutions (CDFIs) continue to grow in importance as an alternative source of aid.  One of the nation's leading, and highest-rated Midwest-based CDFIs, IFF, is now opening its first office in Iowa, in Davenport.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120612/DC22729LOGO)

CDFIs use government grants and tax credits to leverage far more private resources to invest in under-served communities, addressing such essential areas as education, healthcare, housing, child care and healthy food financing.  IFF, established in 1988 and certified by the U.S. Treasury as a CDFI in 1996, began furnishing loans to Iowa nonprofits in 2006, and since then, has provided nearly $5 million in financing to nine Iowa nonprofits.  IFF's loans have helped Iowa nonprofits finance leasehold improvements, purchase property and refinance mortgages.

The Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity, The Project of the Quad Cities, the Greenway of Burlington, Neighborhood Housing Services of Davenport, Inc., Community Health Care, Bethany Home for Families and Children, and the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley are among the organizations for which IFF has provided financing.

Midwest-wide, IFF's lending has leveraged over $1 billion to invest in child care and primary health care centers, supportive housing, charter schools, shelters and affordable housing—creating over 4,615 child care slots, 22,145 student seats, 2,580 units of affordable housing, 171,155 health care visits and 46,501 jobs.

"We're opening our first Iowa office for an obvious reason – as our Iowa activity grows, we need to be much closer to existing and potential customers," said IFF CEO Joe Neri.  "Our Chicago headquarters is relatively close, but not close enough to offer our customers the optimal service and support that IFF delivers, and which our customers expect and so critically need."

Steve Andry, a long-time Iowa resident and veteran commercial lender, who boasts over 20 years of lending experience, will oversee the new Davenport office.  Andry has also served as Chairman of the Board for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mississippi Valley since 2010 and was honored with the State of Iowa Governor's Award for Volunteerism in 2011.

Government and Nonprofit Leaders Welcome IFF's First Iowa Office

"The support IFF provides to Iowa nonprofits ensures that these organizations can focus on what they do best – providing services critical to Iowans," said Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01).  "It is welcome news that there will now be a Davenport office that allows IFF to continue to encourage community development in underserved areas and allow them to serve existing partners in Iowa, as well as, broaden their reach to help more community organizations across the region."

"IFF's first Iowa office is great news," said Lance Henning, Executive Director with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity.  "Through working with IFF on an affordable loan it was clear that they truly do put nonprofits first.  The IFF loan helped Habitat to acquire and renovate our new facility, which houses the Habitat ReStore, administrative offices, and construction operations. Most importantly the relocated facility will allow us to expand our mission to further impact the greater Des Moines community."

"IFF's move into Iowa is important because IFF is an important tool in the ever-growing complex economic climate that nonprofits can use to achieve strategic goals," explained Jay M. Justin, President & CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mississippi Valley.  "IFF's expertise in nonprofit finance and mission-driven operations allows them to be a unique partner.  IFF also serves as a community partner, working not only with nonprofits but also local banks, foundations and other donors to help our community address important needs."

"IFF has been a great partner and supporter of Davenport-based Community Health Care, Inc. (CHC) -- so it means much to us that they're opening an Iowa office," said the COO/CFO of CHC, Jeff Hassel.  "Through their partnership in providing financing to CHC, we have been able to provide more care to those in need. Partners like IFF make it possible for CHC to continue to meets its mission. I look forward to continuing to work with IFF and its staff as we both work together to make CHC successful."

The President and CEO of the Center For Active Seniors, Inc. (CASI), Thomas Bahls, said: "IFF has been an integral partner for CASI, giving us the ability to properly manage the fluctuating economic climate without reducing community services. Our IFF loan reduced the pressure on day-to-day management and allowed CASI to concentrate on developing and implementing a strategic plan that addresses needs-based issues facing our clients – we're now much better prepared to serve the growing seniors demographic in the Quad Cities."

IFF this year surpassed the $1 billion mark in community investment leveraged by its loans to nonprofits since being founded in 1988.  Also this year, the U.S. Treasury Department's Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund announced that IFF had been awarded $25 million in New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations.

IFF's strong financial performance and wide-reaching community impact has earned it the highest rating from the CDFI Assessment and Rating System (CARS).  This makes IFF one of only four CDFIs nationwide – and the only one in the Midwest – to earn CARS' highest rating of "1" for Financial Strength and Performance; "AAA" for Impact Performance; and a "Policy Plus" for leadership in policy changes supporting disadvantaged people and communities.

About IFF
One of America's leading nonprofit community development financial institutions (CDFIs), IFF strengthens nonprofits and their communities through lending and real estate consulting that helps these organizations plan, finance, and build facilities that are critical to their success.  Founded in 1988, IFF has total assets of more than $225 million and serves nonprofits working with low-income communities and special needs populations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin.  To learn more about IFF, visit www.iff.org.