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CDFIs pursue their goals of building wealth and strengthening communities by providing several kinds of assistance:

Loans
Venture capital investments
Technical assistance
Basic financial services


Loans
Almost all CDFIs make loans. Just like loans from commercial banks, CDFI loans must be repaid with interest. Every CDFI has its own goals and its own strategy for accomplishing these goals. These strategies are reflected in the different types of loans each institution makes.
More on loans


Venture capital investments
The only type of financing done by CDFIs that isn't lending is venture capital investment. In this type of deal, the CDFI essentially buys a partial ownership share of a business. The borrowing company makes no payments and the investment appears as increased equity on the company's books.
More on venture capital


Technical assistance
Because CDFI borrowers usually have very little business or borrowing experience, they often encounter financial problems. Rather than take a "sink or swim" attitude, CDFIs offer technical assistance, advice and training that can help borrowers succeed.
More on technical assistance



Basic financial services
CDFIs can help communities even without financing new businesses, housing, or facilities. In many areas, just providing basic financial services such as savings accounts, check cashing, and small consumer loans can rescue poor people from the clutches of loan sharks, check-cashing shops, and other predatory lenders.
More on basic financial services