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Spanning the Region

Thursday, April 1, 2004

New CDFI in Evansville, Ind., to Support Home Ownership

Our Greater Community Inc. recently was awarded U.S. Treasury Department certification for its forthcoming community development financial institution (CDFI) in Evansville, Ind. Certification allows the organization to apply for financial assistance from the CDFI Fund.

The nonprofit initially plans to offer home ownership and home rehabilitation assistance such as gap financing, down payment assistance and financing. The CDFI's investment area is low- to moderate-income census tracts surrounding downtown Evansville.

In addition to hiring a local consultant to develop relationships with stakeholders, Our Greater Community has hired the National Community Capital Association to develop the CDFI's business plan, policies and procedures. The initial capitalization campaign and business plan should be completed by September. An executive director will be hired by year's end, and operations will begin shortly thereafter. During the CDFI's first year, the nonprofit hopes to raise $1 million in capital, or one-quarter of its total goal.

St. Louis Corporate Partnership Provides Job Skills Training

The Financial Career Connections (FCC) corporate partnership program offers low-income individuals job-skills training and St. Louis-area banks immediate access to employees with skills in financial services. FCC candidates earn certificates of completion through the Bank Teller Basic Skills Program or Financial Service Representatives Program.

Corporate partners can:

  • invest in FCC through contributions toward student tuition scholarships;
  • contribute training equipment and supplies;
  • volunteer as guest speakers, mentors or members of the FCC board or admissions committee;
  • participate in the Bi-Lingual Bank Training and Employment Project by recruiting bilingual and multilingual FCC graduates; and
  • recruit graduates of FCC certificate programs with no placement or recruitment fees.

Financial institutions not only might benefit from hiring employees with pre- and post-employment training, but also might meet Community Reinvestment Act obligations through the investment and service opportunities available to FCC corporate partners.

For information, call Karen Watkins at (314) 367-1400 or e-mail her at

Arkansas Businesses Can Find Financial Sources on Web Site

A new web-based service, Capital Access Arkansas, helps small and medium-sized businesses in that state find funding. Created by the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Institute for Economic Advancement, the site provides information on local banks, lenders and finance programs, as well as venture capital firms operating in Arkansas. Visit for more information.

Venture Tax Credits to Boost Business Development in Indiana

Indiana's Venture Capital Investment (VCI) Tax Credit program aims to stimulate the development of startup companies and innovative products.

Investors who want to qualify for the credit must invest in independently owned and operated businesses that are certified by the Indiana Department of Commerce. To be certified, businesses must meet a host of criteria, including the development of a new product or process area. The businesses also must have a substantial number of high-skill jobs, with a significant number paying at least 150 percent of Indiana's per-capita personal income.

Investments in certified businesses began Jan. 1. The maximum number of VCI tax credits allowed in a calendar year is $10 million.

For information, visit the web site and click on "Helping Businesses" and then "Incentive Programs," or call (317) 232-8827.