Industry Timeline

  • 1973: South Shore Bank forms in Chicago

    The nation’s first (and eventually largest) CDFI is established in Chicago with the motto—and rallying cry—”Let’s Change the World.” Its mission to provide financing to low-income communities and people left behind by mainstream finance seeds a billion dollar CDFI industry.

    ShoreBank Founders
  • 1974: National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions launches

  • 1977: Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 passes

    Congress passes and President Jimmy Carter signs the Housing and Community Development Act of 1977. Title VIII, CRA, is intended to encourage depository institutions to help meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods, consistent with safe and sound operations.

    1977 Housing and Community Development Act1977 Housing and Community Development Act
  • 1980: Institute for Community Economics forms in Greenfield, MA

    It would organize the National Association of Community Development Loan Funds (NACDLF), what became OFN.

  • 1983-1985: New Hampshire Community Loan Fund; Self-Help Ventures; Self-Help Credit Union; Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF); Delaware Valley Community Reinvestment Fund (now, The Reinvestment Fund); Boston Community Capital; and other loan funds form

  • 1985: NACDLF holds first Conference

    In Waltham, MA, 65 people from 47 loan funds—totaling $27 million in assets—gather for the first National Association of Community Development Loan Funds (NACDLF) conference. Laying the foundation for the CDFI industry’s mission, participants focus on capital for social, economic, and political justice. (In 2005, NACDLF rebrands as Opportunity Finance Network.)

    1985 OFN Inaugural Conference Materials Packet
    1985 Session Materials from OFN Inaugural Conference: Evaluating Loan Funds
    1985 OFN Inaugural Conference Packet Mailing Cover Letter
    1985 Chuck Matthei Remarks on the First National Conference for Community Loan Funds
    1985 Inaugural Conference Registration Form
    1985 Cooperative Fund of New England Reflects on Inaugural Conference
  • 1986: NACDLF incorporates

  • 1989: NACDLF introduces performance-based financing program and performance-based Membership system

  • 1991: Association for Economic Opportunity (AEO) forms as an NACDLF spin-off

    1991: “Movement or Industry” sparks debate

    NACDLF Members debate whether they aspire to be a movement or an industry. At times heated, the conversation explores the perceived duality between a movement of ideals and the standardization of an industry.

    Janie Barrera
    Pam Flaherty
    Calvin Holmes
    DeWitt “Dick” Jones
    Dan Letendre
    Moises Loza
    Elsie Meeks
    Clara Miller
    Jeremy Nowak
    Gregory Ramm
    Robert Schall
  • 1992: Candidate Bill Clinton pledges to create 100 Community Development Banks and 1,000 microenterprise loan funds

    1992: NACDLF and partners form CDFI Coalition

    1992: NACDLF releases Best Practices for CDLFs, the first public attempt to describe CDFI outstanding performance

  • 1993: President Bill Clinton spearheads the CDFI Fund

    President Bill Clinton proposes legislation for what would become the CDFI Fund, and at the same time directs bank regulators to overhaul the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

    1993 CDFI Fund-Coalition White Paper (20th Anniversary)

    1993: NACDLF launches Equity Grants Program, a competitive performance-based pass-through grant program to strengthen CDFI balance sheets

  • 1994: Self-Help hosts the first-ever CDFI Institute, drawing more than 300 participants to Durham, NC. The event comes to be known as “CDFI Woodstock.”

    1994: Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 passes

    Congress passes and President Clinton signs the Riegle Act, which seeks to reduce administrative requirements for insured depository institutions to the extent consistent with safe and sound banking practices, to facilitate the establishment of community development financial institutions, and for other purposes.

    1994 Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act
    CDFIs Making History: The CDFI Fund
    1994 Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act
    1994 Transcript of Clinton's Remarks on Signing the Riegle Act

    Michael S. Barr
    Bill Bynum
    Donna Gambrell
    DeWitt “Dick” Jones
    Clara Miller
    Jeremy Nowak
    Clifford N. Rosenthal
    Robert Schall
  • 1995: OFN Membership votes to open the Membership to credit unions, banks, and venture (equity) funds while maintaining OFN’s performance-based membership

    1995: Community Reinvestment Act overhaul makes it easier for banks to invest in and lend to CDFIs

  • 1996: CDFI Fund announces first round of awards

    The CDFI Fund’s first round of awards—to 69 organizations—total $48,343,203.

    1996 First Round Recipients of CDFI Fund Awards

    1996: NACDLF and Citibank introduce the Equity Equivalent (EQ2) investment, an equity-like investment product for nonprofits

  • 1997: NACDLF Members vote to change the organization’s name to National Community Capital Association (NCCA)

  • 1998: NCCA adapts “Best Practices” for the full range of CDFI types

  • 2000: President Clinton signs New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) legislation

    The NMTC Program, administered by the CDFI Fund, attracts investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their Federal income tax return in exchange for making equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs).

    2000 Community Renewal Tax Relief Act

    2000: NCCA simplifies its Membership application process leading to a significant increase in the number and diversity of Members

  • 2001: President George W. Bush seeks to eliminate funding for the CDFI Fund. An industry-led attempt defeats that effort

    2001: CDFI Fund awards $103,937,138 to 262 organizations

  • 2003: “Grow, Change, or Die” challenges CDFI industry

    NCCA announces its “Grow, Change, or Die” strategy, challenging the CDFI industry to explore new business strategies and business models.

    Adina Abramowitz
    Joel ben Izzy
    John Berdes
    Alexander P. Moss, MPPM
    Gregory Ramm
  • 2004: NCCA launches CDFI Assessment and Ratings SystemTM (CARSTM)

  • 2005: President Bush proposes consolidating all community development programs in federal government into “SACI” (Strengthening America’s Communities Initiative), including 33% cut in aggregate funding. NCCA helps lead opposition; SACI fails

    2005: NCCA Members vote to change organization’s name to Opportunity Finance Network (OFN)

  • 2006: Federal Reserve Board of Governors Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at OFN Conference

    “Although in some sense the mission of CDFIs is to make themselves unnecessary, I expect that the knowledge and good will that they have accumulated in local communities will continue to make them relevant.”

    2006 Federal Reserve Board of Governors Chairman Ben Bernake
    2006 Federal Reserve Board of Governors Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks at OFN Conference

    2006: CDFI Fund awards $42,553,560 to 141 organizations, and $4.1 billion to 64 organizations in NMTC allocations

  • 2007: Wells Fargo (Wachovia) NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance launches

    NEXT Awards are designed to enable the nation’s most visionary CDFIs to reach the next level of success.

    NEXT Awards Website
    2007 Wachovia NEXT Awards Announcement Press Release
    2007 Wachovia NEXT Awards Overview Brochure
  • 2008: Financial markets collapse resulting in global recession

    2008: Business author Jim Collins speaks at OFN’s Conference, challenging CDFIs to be “the Southwest Airlines of the financial services industry”

    2008: Congress passes and President Bush signs Housing and Economic Reform Act (HERA), creating Capital Magnet Fund and opening Federal Home Loan Bank membership to nonregulated CDFIs

  • 2009: Congress passes and President Barack Obama signs American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), which appropriates a supplemental $98 million to the CDFI Fund to make awards through the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program and allocates another $1.5 billion each for 2008 and 2009 NMTC Program

    2009: President Obama’s FY2010 budget, A New Era of Responsibility: Renewing America’s Promise, requests double previous year’s funding for CDFI Fund

  • 2010: Capital Magnet Fund awards $80 million

    2010: Congress passes and President Obama signs Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, creating the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF) and State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI). Both support, provide capital for, and encourage lending to small businesses through state-run programs or community development banks and loan funds. Small Business Jobs Act also amends Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994 to create Bond Guarantee Program at the CDFI Fund

    2010: OFN, Calvert Foundation, and Citi create Communities at Work Fund

  • 2011: OFN introduces new 15-year strategic plan. Called Aligning Capital with Social, Economic, and Political Justice, it’s known as the “coverage” strategy. OFN’s mission through 2025 is to lead CDFIs and their partners to ensure that low-income and low-wealth people and communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services

    2011-2025 OFN Strategic Plan

    2011: OFN partners with Starbucks to launch Create Jobs for USA, a unique initiative that leverages the power of CDFIs to address the U.S. jobs crisis and help put people back to work

    2011: OFN spins off CARSTM as an independent organization, providing $1 million in funding

    2011: OFN releases Opportunity Multiplied video

    2011 Opportunity. Multiplied.

    2011: CDFI Fund awards $199,820,758 to 276 organizations, and $3,622,919,753 to 70 organizations in NMTC allocations

    2011: The Small Business Administration’s Community Advantage program opens the agency’s flagship 7(a) small business lending guarantee program to non-depository CDFIs.

  • 2013: CDFI Bond Guarantee Program awards $325 million in the first round

  • 2014: OFN launches the Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance

    2014: OFN challenges the industry to discuss and address Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at the 30th Anniversary Conference in Denver, CO

    2014 Because Equity State of the Industry Speech
    2014 Opening Plenary: Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity in the CDFI Industry
    2014 Because Equity State of the Industry Speech