Sones & White Consulting provides comprehensive CDFI consulting services to community banks across the country. Over the last seven years, we have submitted over 130 CDFI Fund grant applications and helped clients obtain $40 million in grant awards. Our services include the following:

  • Conducting CDFI Certification Assessments
  • Helping qualified banks become certified as a CDFI
  • Identifying market needs, key bank impact metrics, and strategic goals
  • Serving as a liaison with the CDFI Fund staff
  • Helping banks identify, evaluate, and access funding opportunities
  • Helping ensure compliance with program requirements

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund is part of the U.S. Department of Treasury. It was created by the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. One purpose of the Fund is to ensure that underserved communities have access to quality, affordable, and credible financial products and services. The Fund promotes access to capital and local economic growth in a number of ways, including through its award programs. Since its creation, the CDFI Fund has awarded over $2 billion to community development organizations and financial institutions.

Certification Assessment

  • Many community banks serving distressed markets are eligible to become certified as a CDFI, but are not familiar with the CDFI Fund
  • CDFI Certification brings many benefits, including access to award programs and exemption from the Truth-in-Lending Ability-to-Repay & Qualified Mortgage (ATR/QM) rules
  • For banks who serve distressed market areas, we conduct a review of the bank’s financing activities and certain other bank information, discuss our findings with the bank, and determine whether the bank is eligible for CDFI Certification

CDFI Certification

  • CDFI Certification is a designation made available to banks and other financial institutions that predominantly serve economically distressed markets and meet certain other eligibility criteria
  • Certification provides access to a number of CDFI grant award programs
  • SWC has submitted over 50 successful CDFI Certification Applications
  • Certification Applications can be submitted at any time, but we recommend exploring the process early in the year and submitting applications prior to the 4th quarter if possible

More Information

We assist our clients with a variety of funding programs and are continually in discussions with clients regarding new opportunities that arise. 

The following are examples of programs we help clients access:

Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program

    • Annual program that rewards banks for increasing lending and investments in Distressed Communities
    • CDFI banks receive funding priority and increased award calculations
    • Historically, all of our bank clients have participated in this program annually
    • Over the past five years, the average BEA Award nationally exceeds $200,000 per year

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Financial Assistance (FA) Awards

      • Annual program available to all CDFIs
      • Awards of up to $1 million
      • Funds to be used for increasing the volume of financial products and services, creating a new product or service, or entering a new geographic area
      • Between 25% and 50% of our clients apply annually

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Technical Assistance (TA) Awards

      • Annual program available to CDFIs and “Certifiable CDFIs” (institutions that meet the criteria but are not yet certified as a CDFI)
      • Awards of up to $125,000
      • Funds to be used for capacity building purposes (e.g., new equipment, new software systems, personnel, training, and supplies)

More Information

Other Programs

Strategic Planning

    • Help clients identify market needs, key bank impact metrics, and strategic goals
    • Help clients identify, evaluate, and access funding opportunities

Liaison with the CDFI Fund staff

    • Serve as primary agency contact on behalf of our clients
    • Analyze and provide comments to agency staff on proposed changes to CDFI Fund programs

Compliance and Reporting

    • Prepare and submit annual reporting to maintain CDFI Certification
    • Ensure compliance with program rules and award agreements
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