The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has awarded nearly $18 million to 59 FDIC-insured depository institutions for serving economically distressed communities across the nation. The awards are being made through the Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program; awardees were selected after a comprehensive review of 71 applications received by the CDFI Fund from financial institutions across the nation that requested more than $88.5 million in funding. The activities that qualify these institutions for BEA Program awards occur in census tracts where at least 30 percent of the population lives at or below the national poverty level and where the unemployment rate is 1.5 times above the national average.
Collectively, these depository institutions increased their loans and investments in distressed communities by $383.3 million; increased their loans, deposits and technical assistance to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) by $21.1 million; increased their equity and equity-like loans and grants to CDFIs by $258,000; and increased the provision of financial services in distressed communities by $5.5 million. For more information, including a list of award recipients, visit www.cdfifund.gov/Lists/CDFI%20News/DispForm.aspx?ID=87.
In January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued the ability-to-repay rule. It creates a new loan category called “qualified mortgages” with no interest-only loans, limited up-front fees and debt burdens of no more than 43 percent of income. Consumer and housing advocates have expressed concern that borrowers do not have the ability to redress any grievances on “qualified mortgages” in the prime market, thereby sheltering banks. Further details about the rule are forthcoming. For more information, see www.consumerfinance.gov/regulations/ability-to-repay-and-qualified-mortgage-standards-under-the-truth-in-lending-act-regulation-z/.
Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP) funds are awarded to national and regional nonprofit organizations and consortia to facilitate and encourage innovative homeownership opportunities for low-income persons and families. For more information, including a program description and application instructions, visit www.ruralhome.org/storage/documents/shop13/shop-2013-program-description-and-application-instructions.pdf.
The Dollar General Literacy Foundation is accepting applications for its Youth Literacy Grants, which provide funding to schools, public libraries and nonprofits working to help students who are below grade level or having difficulty reading. Grants of up to $4,000 are awarded to implement new or expand existing literacy programs; purchase new technology or equipment to support literary initiatives; or purchase books, materials or software for literacy programs. For more information, visit www2.dollargeneral.com/dgliteracy/Pages/youth_grants.aspx.