2015 Mid-South CDFI Bank Meeting

Representatives of 38 community development banks from across the Mid-South convened in Mississippi last Friday for an orientation event on Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund programming. The meeting, held at the BankPlus Training Center in Ridgeland, Mississippi, was hosted jointly by the Community Development Bankers Association (CDBA), Southern Bancorp, BankPlus, United Bank and Guaranty Bank.

The Mid-South region, including Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, has seen a rapid increase in the number of banks that have received CDFI Certification from the U.S. Treasury Department’s CDFI Fund in recent years. Of the 109 banks that are certified CDFIs, 38 became certified in 2014 alone. Of those newly certified banks, 33 were in the Mid-South.

Many banks represented at the meeting have served distressed communities for years but only recently have become certified CDFIs. CDFI Certification signifies that a financial institution maintains a social mission of providing responsible financial services in distressed communities that are underserved by traditional financial institutions.

The agenda was designed to familiarize the newly-certified community development banks with the resources available through the CDFI Fund. Meeting sessions included introductions to the Bank Enterprise Award (BEA), Financial Assistance (FA) awards and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. These programs provide essential support to community development banks and enable them to better serve their communities.

Speakers at the event included experienced community development bank executives as well as representatives of the CDFI Fund and FUND Consulting. Representatives of law firms Jones Walker, Butler Snow, Sandall, Segrest, Weeks, Reeves & Sones and McKay Lawler Franklin & Foreman provided further advice on the award application processes.

“CDBA was proud to organize this meeting, which comes at a critical time for the community development banking sector,” said CDBA Chief Executive and Senior Policy Advisor Jeannine Jacokes. “Our industry is expanding rapidly and it is critical that we ensure newly certified banks are fully informed about the benefits of CDFI certification.”