WBD Support Kick Stats WEDA’s New CRA Network Program
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Network of Wisconsin, a new WEDA program, has officially launched, thanks to the generous financial support of long-time WEDA member WBD, Inc. (formerly Wisconsin Business Development). WBD has made a three-year, $75,000 per year commitment to jump start CRA Network operations.
Adopted in 1977, the CRA encourages banks to meet the credit needs of its entire community, including low and moderate-income neighborhoods. Unfortunately, banks often struggle identifying opportunities to invest in CRA type projects, and they often carry more risk than a bank is willing to accommodate. The goal of the CRA Network is to identify potential projects and foster collaboration between banking and economic development partners on how to finance identified projects.
“WBD’s strong support at the launch of the CRA Network demonstrates the potential power of this collaboration model. The impact of their generous financial support, strong connection to bankers across Wisconsin and a shared mission for economic growth and job creation cannot be understated. We are very thankful to have them as a partner,” said WEDA Executive Director Brian Doudna.
For financial institutions, the CRA Network creates a match making tool to help member financial institutions collaborate locally and statewide on Community Reinvestment Act eligible opportunities and strategies. For community, workforce, housing and economic development professionals and volunteers, the CRA Network delivers access to experts who can provide counsel and technical assistance on applicable projects after submission and review of an application. The program is modeled after a successful program operated by the Kansas City Federal Reserve called Investment Connection. Since 2011, the Investment Connection program has assisted in placement of over $30 million in CRA eligible activities.
The first regional meeting of the CRA Network will be held on June 5th in Eau Claire, bringing together banks and community development professionals to learn more about the network and discuss potential opportunities to partner on local projects. In fact, the meeting will include consideration of a real project looking for support in Ashland, WI.
“I am very encouraged that at the very first regional meeting on June 5th, there will already be a real project in need of support to be discussed. Moving from concept to reality quickly should be a real incentive for banks to get involved,” explained WBD EVP Randy Kyle. “WEDA is doing great work and our support can help them connect their work to new sources of funding to make much needed projects happen across all of Wisconsin.”
WBD is one of the most successful Certified Development Companies in the US, helping hundreds of businesses each year get access to low cost, long term, fixed rate financing to foster business growth and success. As a mission based non-profit organization, WBD reinvests in other economic development activities.
Click here for more information on the CRA Network.