The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) launched the next version of its CDFI Information Mapping System (CIMS3). The web-based tool allows organizations interested in applying for certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) or Community Development Entity (CDE), or in applying to one of the CDFI Fund’s award programs, to visually plot their eligible service areas and investments. CIMS3 is intended to improve the past mapping capabilities the CDFI Fund offered.It also for the first time allows the general public to access eligibility data for each of the CDFI Fund’s programs. CIMS3 will also allow prospective and certified CDFIs and CDEs enhanced capacities to identify and assess target markets, to quickly and accurately determine the eligibility of specific sites for possible investments, and to easily create maps and geographic data analyses.
CDFI Fund Issues Interim Rules for Bond Guaranty Program
The CDFI Fund recently published Interim Rules in the implementation of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program authorized under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. Under the CDFI Fund Bond Guaranty Program, the CDFI Fund may issue federally guaranteed bonds to eligible Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). These CDFIs will use the bond proceeds to make loans for community development in economically underserved areas. The CDFI Fund plans to issue its first bond guarantee this year. Under the Bond Guaranty Program, the CDFI Fund is authorized to issue up to 10 bonds per year, each at a minimum of $100 million, with a total of up to $1 billion in bonds guaranteed per year. The goal of the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program is to provide low cost capitals to CDFIs which will be used to provide financing to economically underserved areas.
Demand for NMTC Allocation Remains Strong
The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced that under the 2012 round of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program it had received 282 applications requesting an aggregate of $21.9 billion in NMTC authority. The CDFI Fund also described innovative uses of New Markets Tax Credit Authority which would be favored by the CDFI Fund. Innovative uses of NMTC Authority include the deployment of New Markets Tax Credit proceeds to underserved states, “qualified low-income community investments” (“QLICs”) of $2,000,000 or less, non-real estate QLICIs such as working capial and equipment loans, and revolving QLICs which would serve multiple “qualified active low-income community businesses”. In this vein, the emphasis on non-real estate QLICIs was recently supported by final NMTC Treasury Regulations which facilitate the redeployment of non-real estate QLICIs.
CDFI Fund Encourages Deployment of NMTC proceeds to Underserved States
In its New Markets Tax Credit 2012 Application Q & A issued last week the CDFI Fund identified those states receiving fewer New Markets Tax Credit proceeds in proportion to its state population. The CDFI Fund indicated that the deployment of New Markets Tax Credit proceeds to these underserved states would be considered an innovative us of New Markets Tax Credit Allocation and favored by the CDFI Fund. Since the inception of the New Markets Tax Credit Program, “qualified low-income community investments” have been made in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. However, the CDFI Fund has identified Puerto Rico, along with the following 10 states, as areas that have received fewer dollars of “qualified low-income community investments” in proportion to their statewide population residing in Low-Income Communities: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Nevada, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia. The CDFI Fund also considers the Island Areas of the United States (American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and the U. S. Virgin Islands) to have received lower levers of NMTC investment, as these four territories have not received any “qualified low-income community investments.”
CDFI Fund Opens 2012 Round of New Markets Tax Credit Program
The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) released today its 2012 Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA) which officially opens the 2012 round of competition under the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program). $5 billion in New Markets Tax Credit authority will be allocated by the CDFI Fund in the 2012 round, pending Congressional authorization. The CDFI Fund also announced September 12, 2012 as the deadline for the submission of an application for New Markets Tax Credit authority and October 31, 2012 as the deadline for issuance by prior allocatees of New Markets Tax Credit authority of qualified equity investments in the amounts required in the NOAA.
Release of 2012 NMTC Application to be Delayed by the CDFI Fund
The CDFI Fund had indicated that it would disseminate the 2012 NOAA and the New Markets Tax Credit allocation application absent the enactment of legislation to extend the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program. It had been anticipated that the time table for the 2012 NOAA, and the distribution and return of the application for New Markets Tax Credit allocation would parallel the schedule employed by the CDFI Fund last year. However, the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition recently reported that the CDFI Fund advised it that release of the 2012 New Markets Tax Credit allocation application will not occur by the end of May as originally anticipated. Further, the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition was advised that the release of the 2012 NOAA and application is unlikely to occur by the end of June. The delay of the release of the 2012 NOAA and the New Markets Tax Credit application by the CDFI Fund may result in awards being made as late as the summer of 2013.
Food Deserts: A New Markets Tax Credit Oasis
In its 2011 allocation agreement the CDFI Fund added the “Food Desert” as one of the two secondary criteria which a community development entity may use to qualify a site as “highly distressed” under the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program. This change in the allocation agreement is significant in light of the President’s proposal to extend the Program for two additional years and designate that at least $500 million ($250 million per year) will support financing healthy food options in distressed communities as part of the Healthy Food Financing Initiative. The 2011 allocation agreement defines a Food Desert, as either: 1) a census tract determined to be a Food Desert by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), as identified in USDA’s Food Desert Locator Tool; or 2) a census tract that qualifies as a Low-Income Community and has been identified as having low access to a supermarket or grocery store through a methodology that has been adopted for use by another governmental or philanthropic healthy food initiative. In addition, the 2011 allocation requires that QLICI activities increase access to healthy food. As a result, with the extension of the Federal New Markets Tax Credit program there will be an increased focus by community development entities on the development of affordable food centers in food deserts.
CDFI Fund Implements Transition to 2010 Census Data
The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (“CDFI Fund”) has completed the first stage of its transition to the new census data for eligibility under the Federal New Markets Tax Credit Program. The CDFI Fund has adopted a transition process which recognizes that community development entities may have already begun to structure potential “qualified low-income community investments” based on the 2000 census data. The CDFI Fund has announced that it will allow New Markets Tax Credit community development entities to use either the 2000 census data or the 2006-2010 ACS data applied for the 2010 census tracts to qualify for “qualified low-income community investments” closed between May 1, 2012 and June 30, 2012.