CDF Payments Activities and Transformation  

Community Development Finance (CDF) continues to evolve and respond to community needs. Most recently, our unique infrastructure has proven useful to a variety of public agencies, nonprofits and a foundation in supplying needed backup services. These services all assist people in need, low-income households, and people of color.

Primarily, these services involve payments in some way. To summarize briefly our disbursement/payment programs through November 2022:

  • Disbursed over $3.75 million to over 7,700 people (immigrants ineligible for federal Covid support funding) on behalf of several Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) schools, Centro Legal and others.
  • Disbursed over $865,000 mostly teachers of color and funding for administrative costs to date for Teachers Rooted in Oakland (though the Mayor’s Office). Roughly $7 million more has been raised or committed. CDF recently became the fiscal sponsor for the program and will be responsible for more extensive management of some of the administrative functions of the new organization.
  • Pilot program beginning with $125,000 with a southern California foundation to manage their loans to people in need, mostly in southern California. The activities include documenting and closing the loans, payments, collections, reporting, etc.
  • Disbursing over $80,000 through a contract with OUSD to assist with providing financial coaching and setting up accounts for the students.
  • Disbursing about $45,000 for two other OUSD contracts; two other new contracts have been approved.
  • Program with Union Bank and Laney College students. Disburse payments for work stipends.

At the same time as this function is growing rapidly for CDF, other traditional functions continue to be reduced. Check cashing has become a small (although still important) part of our services as employers and employees move to more electronic forms of payment. However, there are still some people who depend on checks and CDF will continue to serve them even though it is a rapidly diminishing activity and source of revenue. Similarly, CDF’s payday lending has fallen dramatically in the past two years. CDF has worked to move most of its payday borrowers into zero-interest installment loans thanks to a grant from Our Biswas and this transition has resulted in a dramatic reduction in our payday lending. And similar to check cashing, we will continue to offer these loans for people who still require them. At the same time, we are exploring additional lending approaches and we hope to expand our lending presence further.

These shifts have partially transformed CDF in significant ways. We increasingly are focusing on lending (excluding payday loans), financial training and payments. We believe that these changes will deepen over time and that CDF will undergo further transformations as we seek new ways to assist low-income communities meet their needs.

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