If you’re a small business owner looking for capital, you may want to consider looking into Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs—organizations that specialize in lending to small businesses. While approval rates are higher than at traditional banks, there are pros and cons. Check out our infographic to learn more about whether a CDFI fund might be right for your business.

 

Bank of America Business Advantage

NEED CAPITAL?
CONSIDER A CDFI

It can be tough for a small business to get access to credit—but it can be easier if you know where to look. According to the Federal Reserve Small Business Credit Survey, in 2016, 77% of small business applicants for loans or lines of credit at Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) were approved.

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SO WHAT IS A CDFI AND COULD ONE HELP YOUR SMALL BUSINESS?

CDFIs are lenders that help certain small business owners gain access to capital.

Banks, credit unions, loan funds, microlenders or venture capitalists may serve as CDFIs.

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HOW THEY WORK:

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A region, population or group may face certain economic challenges.

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The federal CDFI Fund, run by the Department of the Treasury, issues loans, grants, deposits or equity investments to local CDFIs.

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Banks also help fund those local CDFIs, helping them to provide financial assistance and mentoring. Bank of America sends millions of dollars each year to different CDFIs.

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The businesses grow in their communities, helping revitalize them.

BORROWING THROUGH A CDFI IS DIFFERENT THAN SECURING A BANK LOAN OR LINE OF CREDIT. CDFIs OFFER CERTAIN PROS AND CONS.

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PROS

Approval rates of 77% at CDFIs, vs. 67% at small banks and 54% at large banks.1

Rates are often competitive with other common funding sources.

Many are geared toward working with start-up and early-stage companies.

Like Bank of America customers, borrowers have access to business education and support, such as help with business plans.

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CONS

Not every business is eligible; borrowers may need to reside in a certain area or be part of a specific population (e.g., women- or minority-owned).

There may be caps on loan amounts.

Funding time may be slower than traditional lenders.

INTERESTED?

Figure out if there's a CDFI that could work for you by checking the U.S. Treasury's tool, or try the Bank of America CDFI locator.

Remember: If you decide to apply for CDFI financing, be prepared—they may operate differently than your bank and ask for other information.

 

Click here to download a PDF version of this infographic.

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