September 18, 2013
Three Community Lenders Awarded $8.25 Million
by Robert Kropp
Opportunity Finance Network presents the 2013 Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance to
three community lenders for their pioneering strategies for financial products and services in
The NEXT Opportunity Awards have
been an important annual high point for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) since
their inception in 2007. Each year, $8.25 million is awarded to up to four institutions, in the
form of $7.5 million in low-cost, long-term debt and $750,000 in unrestricted grant funding.
The 2013 award recipients were
announced this week. The California-based Opportunity Fund, a provider of microloans for small businesses,
microsavings accounts, and community real estate financing, will receive $3 million to expand its
EasyPay financial product. EasyPay allows small business owners who do not qualify for traditional
financing to access capital and repay their loans automatically through daily credit and debit card
sales, rather than as a lump-sum term payment each month.
The awards are presented by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network
NCB Capital Impact will receive $2.75 million toward
its Woodward Corridor project in Detroit. NCB plans to develop up to 400 units of new affordable
housing, create more than 500 construction and permanent jobs, create or expand more than 20 small
businesses, and deploy $40 million of loan financing and $2 million of predevelopment financing
over the next two to three years.
Housing Partnership Network of Boston will receive
$2.5 million for the expansion of its Housing Partnership Equity Trust, the first real estate
investment trust (REIT) launched by nonprofits to acquire and preserve affordable housing. The NEXT
Award will allow for the fivefold expansion of the $100 million REIT over the next two years to
fund the preservation and rehabilitation of more than 7,000 units of affordable housing.
“This year’s NEXT Awardees are finding solutions for communities that lack access to
traditional financial products and services,” said Mark Pinsky, president and CEO of OFN. “By
expanding their affordable and responsible financial products, CDFIs such as these are creating
opportunities where there are none today.”
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