Addressing CRA through Investment ConnectionJune 30, 2014
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Community Development created Investment Connection and Investment Connection Online in response to requests from Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Officers in search of lending and investment opportunities in their community. Both platforms also are beneficial to other funders in search of community and economic development opportunities in the seven-state Kansas City Fed district.
Investment Connection has helped match financial institutions, corporate enterprises and community foundations with organizations that have CRA eligible community and economic development proposals in need of a qualified investment, grant or loan. Investment Connection has connected community organizations with more than $24 million in funding within the Tenth Federal Reserve District, which includes Colorado, western Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, northern New Mexico, and Wyoming.
For Bruce Slyter, the CRA and Fair Lending Officer at Colorado East Bank and Trust in Pueblo, Colo., the Investment Connection platform offered the flexibility and information he needed to make the bank's investment decisions. Most recently, the bank made a $100,000 investment in the Colorado Enterprise Fund, a statewide Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) microlender. Slyter said the funds will assist businesses in Weld County Colorado, an area affected by flooding in 2013.
For Marta Sonia Londono Mejia, president and CEO of the Midlands Latino CDC in Omaha, Neb., Investment Connection gave her the opportunity to have her proposal viewed by many funders at one time.
“The exposure to so many funders is incredible and is something that would take months for me to replicate,” Mejia said.
Typical proposals include:
- Asset Building/Financial Education
- Community Facilities
- Small Business Development/Microlending
- Neighborhood Stabilization/Affordable Housing
- Workforce Development
Investment Connection Online is updated regularly. Funders are advised to visit the Investment Connection Online on a quarterly basis, as new proposals from throughout the Tenth District are added.