Results tagged as "citi community development"

  • The bright lights: CDFIs in the spotlight

    By Mark Pinsky, President & CEO Opportunity Finance Network November 16, 2011 03:30 PM



    Editor's note: Community Development Financial Institutions [CDFIs] are doing essential work filling gaps in the financial services industry and transforming communities in the process - but many people have never even heard of them. Recently, Citi Community Development sat down with Opportunity Finance Network and NACEDA to discuss the role and importance of financial services institutions and CDFIs in delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream.

    I remember vividly when, in 1994, on the verge of the creation of the Treasury Department's CDFI Fund, the Executive Director of a community development financial institution (CDFI) said in a public meeting: "We've been really successful so far in staying off everyone's radar screens. I guess that's about to end."

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  • "Out" for business.

    By Justin Nelson, President and Co-founder, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce July 08, 2011 11:50 AM

    The lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT)-owned small business community--comprising an estimated 1.4 million enterprises in the United States--has an enormous depth and promise. My job, as president of the 29,000-member National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), is to help them reach their full potential.

    Like other entrepreneurial associations, NGLCC focuses on events and educational programs on essential topics for any small business such as how to access financing and develop new clients. But we also deal with issues unique to this group, such as how to certify or identify as an LGBT business and what that can mean for a business and its employees.

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  • Bouncing back: The power of one in three.

    By Connie Evans, President, Association for Enterprise Opportunity May 27, 2011 12:27 PM

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9 percent of Americans were unemployed at the end of April. That's 13.7 million people. What's more, another 2.5 million were not working, but wanted employment. The numbers are staggering, and at the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), we're working in conjunction with many others, including Citi, engaged in helping the economy and employment bounce back.

    We're focusing on Main Street. By our count, "micro"--or very small--businesses represent more than 80 percent of all businesses in the United States and have huge potential as growth drivers. Our new research, generously funded by the Citi Foundation and fittingly titled "The Power of One in Three," shows that if just one in three microenterprises hired a single employee, the U.S. would be at full employment.

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  • Microfinance: Bringing the unbanked into the financial mainstream.

    By Jose Quinonez, Executive Director, Mission Asset Fund May 23, 2011 03:27 PM

    This week's fully subscribed Microfinance USA Conference in New York is just one of many signs that microfinance has an important role to play in reaching the millions of people in the United States who are outside financial mainstream. Because of poor credit or lack of credit, many people -- like the low-income and immigrant residents served by Mission Asset Fund -- lack access to quality financial services. These "unbanked" individuals and families have limited savings and investment opportunities and often have difficulty finding the capital and support needed to start and grow businesses.

    Faced with these types of financial hurdles, immigrants frequently seek and develop their own solutions, often utilizing informal peer lending models from their countries of origin. Peer lending circles have many names around the world: from the Susus throughout Africa, Paluwagan in the Philippines, Lun-hui in China to Tandas in Mexico. Regardless of the name, each is built on the principle that participants agree to make regular contributions to a common fund, which is then distributed in whole or in part to each contributor in rotation. Once a member has received the fund, the cycle continues until all members receive a distribution.

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  • Supporting the next generation of microfinance leaders.

    By Citi May 18, 2011 02:50 PM

    Recently, the Microlumbia Fund -- a student organization at Columbia Business School -- hosted the Microlumbia 4th Annual Microfinance Conference. The event looked back at the last decade in microfinance and also forward to the challenges and opportunities of the decade to come. In this video, Lucia Villar, co-president of the Microlumbia Fund, speaks from the conference about the importance of the fund as a forum for providing the Columbia Business School community and other emerging leaders with the means and opportunities to become lifelong contributors to the field. The fund is non-profit and staffed by students who provide growing microfinance institutions with pro-bono consulting services and debt capital.

    Bob Annibale, Citi's Global Director of Microfinance and Community Development, participated on a panel at the conference, focusing on "Extending Horizons of Microfinance Investments."

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