Albany, NY – What is the antidote to predatory loans? How can we leverage federal and private dollars to make sure more New Yorkers have access to capital for their small businesses? How do we revitalize impoverished communities?

The New York State CDFI Coalition will meet for their annual conference May 7-8 to help create answers to these and other tough questions. The conference will take place at the Albany Marriott on Wolf Road.

“We are looking forward to welcoming distinguished guests from across the state and learning more about the programs they offer,” says Linda MacFarlane, Chair of the Coalition and Executive Director of the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region. “CDFIs are a vital part of the financial industry, and our work ensures that all communities have fair and equitable access to funding, and ultimately to economic prosperity in this country.”

The Coalition is comprised of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) across the state – think loan funds, credit unions, and community banks – who specialize in serving lower income people and businesses in economically distressed communities. These 27 financial institutions banded together in 1995 to represent the 80+ similar institutions across the state, providing education, advocacy, and other resources to assist them with their mission.

CDFIs are funded through a variety of state and federal grants and well as private community investment, but resources continue to be limited.

CDFIs like the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region rely on grant monies, investments, and donations from individuals and community development supporters. “Each year, we receive numerous investments to create lending capital. We use that lending capital to build and grow local businesses and revitalize our community,” says MacFarlane.

In 2007, New York passed into law a State CDFI Fund modeled after that of the US Treasury. However, it has received no funding appropriations to date. In 2018, New York passed into law, a first in the country, state Community Development Revolving Loan Fund, and appropriated funding for New York State CDFIs.

At the conference, members will explore the latest funding and partnership opportunities. The two-day conference will close with a slate of policy recommendations for the state to hopefully adopt.

“As we are all concerned with the important issues of predatory lending, fair small business lending, check cashers, Confessions of Judgement, and underspent state programs, I expect to develop a solid policy agenda for the NYS CDFI Coalition in 2019.” said MacFarlane.

At the conference, University at Albany President Dr. Havidan Rodriguez will present the Keynote Address: “How Universities Can Partner for Community Development.” The conference will also welcome speakers from the Federal Reserve Bank, JP Morgan Chase Global Philanthropy, Robin Hood Foundation, and the Amalgamated Bank.

About the Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region

The Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region is a non-profit community development financial institution serving the Capital Region of New York State — Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties.

 Incorporated in 1985, its mission is to promote sustainable community development efforts for economically underserved people and communities. CLFCR provides access to capital by pooling investments and donations from socially-concerned individuals and organizations, and re-lending it to non-profit organizations for affordable housing and community services, to micro-enterprises for business development, and to individuals for home ownership and repair.  CLFCR also offers training and technical assistance programs. 

Working with investors, donors, and nonprofits or small business borrowers – CLFCR is strengthening communities and changing lives.