where checking accounts rebuild communities
Back to homepageInstitutional ReportsSRI Financial Professionals DirectoryToolsNewsSRI Performance and TrendsAbout Us   

April 24, 2014
Automated Financial Reporting for CDFIs Launched
    by Robert Kropp

The CDFI Assessment and Ratings System developed by CARS allows community development financial institutions to share quarterly performance data with their investors.

In 2004, the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), a national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), launched the CDFI Assessment and Ratings System (CARS) to improve investor confidence by promoting industry-wide performance standards for CDFIs. In 2012, CARS Inc. became an independent organization, stating in a press release at the time that its new products and services will make “it the only independent organization that offers in-depth insight into CDFI impact and financial performance.”

Last week, CARS announced the launch of a call reporting system through which CDFIs will share quarterly performance data with their investors.

“Previously, investors lacked the quarterly, standardized financial and impact data they need to understand individual CDFI and industry performance,” CARS stated.

That increased transparency was necessary for the continued growth of the CDFI industry was underscored by a US SIF report published in 2012, which noted a number of barriers impeding that growth: “the relatively low awareness of community investment options, a shortage of products, low returns or the perception of low returns, the perception of high risk, the manual processing and reporting required for non-standard investment vehicles, limited liquidity and the fact that community investing products generate low or no income for advisors,” the report stated. “Additionally, interviews revealed an increasing concern about regulatory constraints.”

Nevertheless, the report continued, “awareness of and demand for community investment in depository institutions is as high as it has ever been.”

The call reporting system developed by CARS will “will streamline investors' portfolio management, while alleviating the need for CDFIs to report financial performance in a variety of formats to many investors,” CARS stated. “Now CDFIs can report into one centralized database, similar to the call report system used by regulated depository institutions. It will also give new investor entrants, such as investment advisors, access to the type of Wall Street-quality data to which they are accustomed.”

CARS also announced that two influential foundations—the Calvert Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation—are already using the system to monitor their CDFI investments.

“Calvert Foundation is a firm believer in the value of this tool for sharing CDFI impact and performance data with current and potential investors," said Catherine Godschalk, VP of Investments at Calvert Foundation.

Development of the call reporting system was aided by more than $1.5 million in grant funding by the Citi Foundation.


| Reports | SRI Financial Professionals Directory | Tools | News | SRI Performance and Trends | About Us | Contact
© SRI World Group, Inc. - All rights reserved
Terms of use - Privacy Policy - OneReportTM Network