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Frequently Asked Questions.


What is a CDFI? The acronym CDFI stands for Community Development Financial Institution. A CDFI is not a charitable organization or a program, in terms of lending practices; this means a CDFI's approach to lending money is still to make good loans. Even though a CDFI's mission is charitable one. CDFI's are supported by Congress by both Democrats and Replublican, since 1995; when the CDFI was created and implemented by the U.S. Department of Treasury.

What is the purpose of a CDFI? To provide opportunities for housing and business development though loan products, financial education, and business coaching.

Why do we need a CDFI? (a) Leverage untapped private and public funds; (b) Re-circulate the dollars within the community; (c) Open up opportunities for micro-business loans and entrepreneurship.

What are the positive impacts of the Lummi CDFI? (a) Money stays within the community; (b) Members have access to more loan and financial opportunities; (c) Business development; (d) Improved Lummi Community economy; (e) Each business and member will have fair opporunity.

What are the Lummi CDFI loan interest rates? 9-14%

How are interest rates determined? The rate is dependent on a number of factors, risk ratings such as, credit score, character, ability to make all debt/expense payments, collateral, money into the project cost, experience, co-signer or co-borrows, etc.

Where does the Lummi CDFI funds [Revolving Loan Funds - RLF] comes from? At this time, The U.S. Department of Treasury NACA grant, NWAF, and LIBC.

Who does the Lummi CDFI serve? The Lummi Nation community and members, and also within Whatcom County/Pacific Northwest, which supports our mission.

Who administers RLF? The Lummi CDFI Board and Executive Director in various capacity levels.

Who decides on loan requests? The Lummi CDFI staff make loan recommedations to the Lummi CDFI Loan Committee. However, the Lummi CDFI Loan Committee based on underwriting guideline policies and proceedures.

Where do I start? For businesses starting out, the first step is talk to someone with experience in doing business (i.e. identifying a mentor and/or using business technical support, such as Lummi Ventures). Secondly, it is important to have a business plan to understand the viability of the business for a pathway towards success. Third, if you have a solid business plan in place, we recommend applying at this time (*For experienced business owners, having a business plan is still highly recommended and is required to apply).

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