Peoples Bank Certified as a Community Development Financial Institution
In documents released by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Peoples Bank was named one of 434 banks across America that have been certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The certification is provided to financial institutions “that distinguish themselves by continuously working to transform the lives of America’s most underserved populations.”
The federal agency noted that nearly one quarter of American households does not have a checking account, relying instead on “costly payday lenders and check-cashing outlets”. The presence of a CDFI-certified bank indicates that a community has access to affordable financial products and services as “a staple of economically sound communities”. The CDFI program invests in and builds the capacity of CDFI institutions to, in part, contribute to the revitalization of their communities, including financial and technical assistance that leads to lending capital and developing services. In 2011, as a result of the program, financing was made available to more than 5,200 businesses, creating more than 25,000 jobs while leveraging $1.5 billion in private investment. It also financed nearly 18,000 affordable housing units and provided financial literacy training to more than 177,000 individuals.
The U.S. Treasury Department defined CDFIs as institutions that have a “primary mission of serving low-income individuals and communities, providing loan funds for non-profit organizations as well as financing and technical assistance to businesses, microenterprises, affordable housing developers and community service organizations. It noted, too, that many certified CDFIs offer loans featuring more favorable terms than traditional banks while also providing services including business planning, credit counseling and homebuyer classes to help their borrowers use credit effectively.
“This designation is recognition of Peoples Bank’s primary mission to make sure that our communities grow and prosper.” Ammann said. “The initiatives of the CDFI program are in line with our own with respect to providing affordable financial services and responsive loan solutions that help our communities, friends and neighbors to grow, prosper and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.”