(BLOOMINGTON) – Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton will join South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg for an event at the Century Center in South Bend today.
Having established Bloomington as the country’s first “CDFI-Friendly City,” Hamilton has been invited to participate in South Bend’s own efforts to establish CDFI-Friendly status. During Tuesday’s conference, “Investing in Our Future: Expanding South Bend’s Commitment to Inclusive Economic Growth,” the mayors will participate in a panel discussion with financial and civic leaders from around the country to explore the feasibility of and establish principles for a CDFI-Friendly South Bend.
“Cities are finding ways to spur economic growth in sustainable, equitable ways with creative financing such as that offered through CDFIs,” said Hamilton. “I’m enthusiastic about sharing Bloomington’s experience with Mayor Buttigieg and the South Bend community.”
Attendance at the conference is limited to invited guests and members of the media. Opening remarks and the first panel will take place from 9:45 a.m. until 11:15 a.m., with Buttigieg and Hamilton available to the press from 11:15 a.m. until 11:30 a.m. The Century Center is located at 120 Doctor M.L.K. Jr Blvd. in South Bend.
Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, are mission-oriented lenders that typically provide capital and services to underserved populations and in markets that encounter challenges in obtaining financing for basic local needs. Governed by federal regulations that allow them to be profitable but not profit-maximizing, CDFIs offer an option to traditional banks. More than 1000 CDFIs operate in the US, producing substantial community impact by providing billions of dollars of financing for such investments as affordable housing, small business growth, and public facilities, such as child care centers and health clinics.
Formed in late 2018 after 18 months of exploratory work and market research, CDFI Friendly Bloomington is a 501(c)(3) that pairs local investment opportunities with CDFIs around the region and the country. Four local and regional banks collaborated in providing debt financing to the initiative, and two public partners — the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission — each made $1 million capital grant commitments to CDFI Friendly Bloomington. As an incentive, Bank of America pledged $10 million in low cost loans to CDFIs that participate in Bloomington.
South Bend would become the nation’s second CDFI Friendly Community.