860 Community Development Institutions Getting $1.25B to Boost Post-COVID Recovery

Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that 860 community development financial institutions (CFDIs) will receive $1.25 billion to help the economy recover COVID-19, the Associated Press reported.

CFDIs help small businesses get loans that the would otherwise be turned down for from major banks, a problem that hits minority business owners in particular.

"Traditional banks have not always seen or understood the vision of women, small business owners, small business owners of color, small business owners who serve low-income communities," Harris said.

She added that CDFIs "add value to those communities, and by extension, to our entire nation."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Vice President Harris Speaks At Greenville Airport
Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that 860 community development financial institutions (CFDIs) will receive $1.25 billion to help the economy recover COVID-19. Above, speaks to members of the press at Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport before she boards Air Force Two to return to Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2021, in Greer, South Carolina. Alex Wong/Getty Images

"President Joe Biden and I knew that more than repair, we must re-imagine our economy," Harris said during an event at the White House. "Small businesses, of course, are at the center of this re-imagining."

Harris has focused on small businesses from the start of her vice presidency, and has emphasized in particular the need to support minority- and female-owned small businesses as key to a robust economic recovery.

This fund in particular comes from work she did as a California senator. The funding for the program comes from $12 billion provided for community lenders in the 2020 stimulus that was signed into law by then-President Donald Trump last December.

At the time, Harris pushed to include funding for CDFIs in the final package, along with Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner, and House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, both of whom joined her at Tuesday's event.

Harris praised their work, along with the support of a number of other senators, calling it a "full team effort" to get the funds into the final bill.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also joined Harris at the event, and said that the CDFI fund delivered on Biden and Harris' campaign-trail promise to tackle systemic racism and build an economy "that works for everyone."

CDFIs, she said, are "exactly the right place to focus our attention, because these questions—who can access credit and capital and who can't—those questions are at the root of many long-term structural problems in our economy."

Vice President Harris at Phillis Wheatley Center
Vice President Kamala Harris announced on Tuesday that 860 community development financial institutions (CFDIs) will receive $1.25 billion to help the economy recover COVID-19. Above, Harris speaks at the Phillis Wheatley Community Center in Greenville, South Carolina, on June 14, 2021, about the importance of getting vaccinated for COVID-19. John A. Carloss II/Associated Press