NARLF achieves CDFI Certification & $106,150 Award to Increase Credit Access to Small Businesses
Huntsville, Alabama – October 20, 2015: North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund, LLC (NARLF), a subsidiary of Huntsville non-profit Neighborhood Concepts, Inc. (NCI), has been certified by the U. S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) as a Community Development Financial Institution or CDFI. Additionally, NARLF received a $106,150 Technical Assistance (TA) award from the CDFI Fund to build organizational capacity.
CDFI’s are specialized mission-driven financial institutions that work in market niches by providing access to capital and credit to individuals and businesses that may be underserved by traditional financial institutions. As of August 31, 2015, there were 13 CDFI’s in the State of Alabama and 951 throughout the U.S. NARLF is the only CDFI-certified revolving loan fund focused on small business lending with headquarters in Alabama. “Although NARLF currently provides small business loans throughout all of north Alabama, CDFI certification will provide additional tools allowing NARLF to focus on underserved census tracts in Colbert, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Madison counties,” said Mary Ellen Judah, NCI’s Executive Director.
“This certification of Neighborhood Concepts’ loan fund as a CDFI brings us yet another asset to assist entrepreneurs and small businesses in Huntsville. Access to capital is something we hear as a limiting factor for small business success. This is one way to address that. This will allow us to create companies which in turn will create jobs,” said Mayor Tommy Battle.
“CDFI certification allows NARLF to provide access to credit to small businesses and entrepreneurs in North Alabama on a much greater scale,” according to Judah. “The benefits of certification include access to Financial Assistance awards from the CDFI Fund, partnership opportunities with banks seeking Bank Enterprise Awards, access to New Market Tax Credits and enhanced ability to attract private sector capital,” according to Judah.
In addition to securing CDFI certification, NARLF received a $106,150 Technical Assistance (TA) award from the CDFI Fund to expand the organization’s capacity. NARLF was one of 29 organizations throughout the country that received a TA award from the CDFI Fund. Funds will be used to support operations, provide staff training and purchase equipment that will enhance NARLF’s ability to serve small business owners in North Alabama.
Neighborhood Concepts, Inc. (NCI) is a Huntsville-based non-profit focused on strengthening communities through the development of affordable housing and the advancement of economic opportunities in underserved neighborhoods. With seed money from the Food Bank of North Alabama and the City of Huntsville, NCI formed the North Alabama Revolving Loan Fund in 2012 to provide loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses in north Alabama.
Because of its structure as a revolving loan fund, NARLF has more flexibility in its lending decisions allowing them to make loans to start-up businesses or those looking for smaller amounts of credit that typically might not be able to access conventional financing. This flexibility coupled with sound business practices allows NARLF to honor the social investment goals of its funders while still being good stewards of these investments. To date, NARLF has made approximately $400,000 in loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the area.