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Article Archives: Iowa

HFFI Serves Up Community Development Opportunities in the Midwest

IFF, a nonprofit lender and real estate consultant in Chicago, Ill., was among the recipients of funding from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) in September 2011. IFF received a $3 million grant and is using the award to leverage more than $25 million in additional capital. The lender will invest the combined funds in food-related projects in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The initial emphasis will be on full-service, for-profit grocery stores in “food deserts” in the metropolitan areas of Chicago; Milwaukee, Wis.; Dubuque and Des Moines, Iowa; St. Louis, Mo.; and East St. Louis, Ill., where IFF has developed a pipeline of potential projects. Over time, IFF will finance and, where appropriate, directly develop a range of both for-profit and nonprofit retail food outlets as well as other types of food-related businesses, including rural business models.

IFF intends to work with one or more national community development financial institution (CDFI) partners to establish a fund for grocery-store lending across the Midwest. To share risk and stretch its capital further, IFF will seek the participation of other CDFIs, community banks, its regional and national bank partners, and foundations. Banks and foundations will be able to invest in the fund, and local or regional investors will be able to target funds geographically.

If you are interested in learning more about the fund, please contact Trinita Logue at (312) 596-5117 or tlogue@iff.org.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, August 2012]

Expanding Day Care and Early-Childhood Education

First Children’s Finance (FCF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution working to increase the availability of quality early-childhood education and day care for low-income families in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit provides expertise and capital to other service organization and businesses. FCF offers services, including training and support for people interested in starting child-care businesses; strategic planning support for nonprofits; and consulting.

The FCF Loan Fund has made 281 loans totaling $8.1 million to small child-care businesses and nonprofit organizations. To date, nearly 50 banks, foundations, and businesses have invested in the FCF Loan Fund. Bankers can help FCF by investing capital in its loan fund; volunteering to serve as board and loan committee members; serving as advisors to the FCF Growth Fund; and making financial contributions to FCF.

For more information, contact Jerry Cutts, FCF President and CEO, at (612) 338-3023, or e-mail jerry@firstchildrensfinance.org, or visit www.firstchildrensfinance.org.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Developing High Growth Small Businesses in Iowa
The Entrepreneurial Development Center, Inc. (EDC) is a nonprofit organization that accelerates the development of small businesses with high growth potential, located approximately within 100 miles of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. EDC connects entrepreneurs with veteran, accomplished mentors who already have developed businesses; with prospective board members who can provide expertise necessary to the development of the company; and with capital from equity and debt investors, such as banks, government sources, and angel investors. EDC also provides entrepreneurs with networking and educational opportunities. Since its founding in 2003, EDC has worked with 250 entrepreneurs, 50 percent of whom were pre-revenue. EDC has raised approximately $2 million in angel capital investments for many of these companies. Among the companies receiving assistance, two already have grown from $0 in annual revenue to more than $2 million. EDC's newest initiative is the development of a seed capital fund that will help capitalize promising businesses in the early stages of development. Banks can be involved with EDC by referring prospective clients to EDC, accepting referrals of companies from EDC, providing operating support to EDC, and investing in the new seed capital fund. For more information, visit http://www.edcinc.org/ or contact Miriam Ubben, Vice President of Capital Formation at (319) 369-4955 or mubben@edcinc.org.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring-2007]

The Midwest Assistance Program Loan Fund
The Midwest Assistance Program Loan Fund (MAPLF) is a nonprofit organization that provides predevelopment loans to small rural communities in nine Upper Midwest States - Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Loans can be used for clean water and wastewater projects that serve lower-income populations. Borrowers from MAPLF are rural communities and other public water or wastewater authorities with less than 10,000 in population.

Established in 2003, MAPLF has closed seven loans totaling $105,000, has $250,000 more in process, and has sustained no losses. Loans have been made in four of the nine states in MAPLF's service region. MAPLF is an affiliate of the Midwest Assistance Program, which provides engineering, training, and other consulting services to help small rural communities plan and implement water and wastewater improvement projects. MAPLF typically funds projects that have multiple layers of funding, including grants and loans from a variety of sources. Originally capitalized with $100,000 from the Midwest Assistance Program, MAPLF also funds its loans with the proceeds of a federal grant, and is actively seeking new investors. Banks can participate by investing directly into MAPLF, by referring prospective borrowers that do not meet conventional credit criteria, and by structuring MAPLF into financing packages in which the banks would like to participate.

For more information, visit www.map-inc.org or contact Tom Kopp at (952) 758-4334 or tkmap@bevcomm.net.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Spring 2006]

Iowa Equity Fund Investing in Low Income Housing Tax Credits
The Iowa Equity Fund, LLC (IEF), a limited liability company formed in 2001, promotes the development and sustainability of affordable housing through the use of the federal low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program. The formation of IEF resulted from cooperative efforts of many experienced Iowa affordable housing developers, and financial grants from the Iowa Finance Authority, as well as several banks. In addition to underwriting investments in the federal LIHTC program, IEF staff provides technical assistance to developers, owners, and management companies on the development and management of tax credit properties. IEF will syndicate and assist in all types and sizes of affordable housing properties with emphasis on rural, difficult to develop areas, and service intensive properties, such as rent-to-own and transitional housing. Every 12 to 18 months IEF sponsors an investment fund to invest or syndicate tax credit developments throughout Iowa. Traditionally, the investment funds seek Iowa-based corporate investors. IEF is an affiliate of the Midwest Housing Equity Group, Inc. (MHEG), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. MHEG staff provides IEF with underwriting, management, and compliance expertise based on extensive experience with syndication of tax credit properties. MHEG also has over $110 million in current investments supporting more than 1,500 units of affordable housing in Nebraska, Iowa, and Kansas.

For additional information, please contact Iowa Equity Fund at (515) 280-6000.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2005]

Cooperative Financing in the Upper Midwest
Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) is a for-profit, cooperatively owned loan fund that provides financing, training and expertise to small producer, consumer, affordable-housing, worker and land cooperatives in eleven states in the upper Midwest. NCDF today has more than $8 million in assets, has made hundreds of loans to cooperatives since its founding in 1978 and has contained losses since 1978 to 0.27 percent of dollars loaned. Investors in NCDF include banks, cooperatives, religious orders, foundations and others. Certified by the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund as a CDFI and as a community development entity, NCDF also has funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help develop and finance rural housing cooperatives, and NCDF last year established a community development credit union that helps members of cooperatives finance their membership shares. Banks are involved with NCDF as co-lenders, as investors and on the board of directors.

For more information, contact Margaret Lund at (612) 331-9103 or at margaret@ncdf.org. NCDF's web site is www.ncdf.org.

[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2004]