Finis Logue, a licensed journeyman electrician and military veteran, and his wife Gwin saw buying a 20+ year old, established electrical contracting business in Portland, Ore. as an opportunity to rebuild their lives and take hold of their future.
But Finis and Gwin were turned down for a loan by several traditional banks. They did not fit into the ‘credit box’ because they were both unemployed, they both had low credit scores, and their personal net worth could not support their credit request.
That’s when Craft3, a local Community Development Financial Institution, stepped in to offer ‘out of the box’ help in the form of a loan that created jobs for both the Logues immediately.
What is a CDFI?
Like the Logues, many small business owners encounter obstacles when obtaining loan. Difficulty accessing financial services, affordable credit, and investment capital has long been a problem, especially in low-income and underserved communities.
Community Development Financial Institutions – or CDFIs – address this problem by offering financial products and services that meet the unique needs of economically underserved communities.
Over 900 credit unions, banks, community development loan funds and venture capital funds have been certified as CDFIs by the US Treasury’s CDFI Fund. Regardless of the type of CDFI, they all have the primary mission of serving communities and individuals that lack access to loans and other financial services from mainstream financial institutions.
CDFIs provide a variety of products and services. These include retail banking products and services for the unbanked and low- and moderate-income consumers, as well as loans and investments for small businesses, affordable housing projects, and social service organizations. Some CDFIs also provide development services, such as business planning, credit counseling, and homebuyer education, to help their borrowers use credit effectively.
What is Craft3?
As a community development loan fund CDFI, Craft3 delivers capital to businesses, nonprofits, individuals and others, including those unable to access traditional financing in Washington and Oregon. It also works with businesses owned by minorities, women and immigrants in rural and urban areas.
Because Craft3 is a nonbank CDFI lender, it can craft loans to meet the specific needs of a business. This allows Craft3 to create flexible loan structures and manage higher-risk loans. Craft3 prioritizes loans to businesses that impact jobs, families and the environment in Pacific Northwest communities. Over the past 19 years, Craft3 has invested more than $257 million in people and communities of the Pacific Northwest.
A Craft3 loan may be the ideal option for you if:
- Your project is in Oregon or Washington.
- You have already tried to seek conventional financing, or believe you are not eligible for traditional financing.
- You truly believe you can impact your own circumstances. Craft3 borrowers have an inherent belief that they can change their own circumstances.
- You want a hands-on financial partner. At Craft3, we are unlike most traditional financial institutions. Our approach is to be an ongoing advocate of your business, staying in close touch with you and offering you our expertise wherever we can.
Still not sure if a Craft3 loan might be right for your business? Contact Craft3 at info@Craft3.org or talk with them at the Access to Capital event in November.
For more information about Community Development Financial Institutions, please visit the CDFI Fund website www.cdfifund.gov.