CDFI Friendly Bloomington, an innovative new organization to increase access to flexible, affordable financing for community development, has hired Brian Payne as Executive Director. In this role, Payne will help community development financial institutions (CDFIs) invest in affordable and workforce housing, small business growth, and new community facilities in Bloomington, Monroe County, and southwest-central Indiana.
A recently formed nonprofit, CDFI Friendly Bloomington (CFB) will connect local investment opportunities and regional and national CDFIs. CDFIs are private financing entities that specialize in markets and populations that often cannot qualify for traditional financing. CDFI Friendly Bloomington will promote local projects, facilitate deals, and offer financing alongside CDFIs to incent their participation or bridge an asset gap in the project.
After a nationwide search, CDFI Friendly Bloomington’s hiring committee interviewed several candidates and selected Payne in July. Payne most recently served as Assistant Director of the Economic and Sustainable Development Department for the City of Bloomington. In that capacity, he worked on priority economic development projects for the City, negotiated tax incentives, and supported a broad range of small business and entrepreneurship activities.
Payne came to Bloomington from the federal government, most recently as policy advisor in legislative affairs for the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration. Prior to that, Payne worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative counsel to two members of Congress. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Lawrence University. Before attending law school, he worked as a teacher, social worker, and high school athletics coach.
Tina Peterson, president of CDFI Friendly Bloomington’s Board of Directors, called hiring an executive director “a monumental step for this new organization.” “As a start-up entity, CFB requires a leader who is not only capable of, but comfortable wearing many hats. Brian brings a wealth of relevant experience, a valuable knowledge base and the enthusiasm necessary to help CDFI Friendly Bloomington hit the ground running and make an immediate impact in our region,” Peterson said. “He is the ideal candidate for this role.”.
“I am pleased to welcome Brian into this vital new role,” said Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “His experience building coalitions at the local level will serve CDFI Friendly Bloomington well as we continue to work to strengthen Bloomington’s economic conditions, expand community facilities, and improve housing affordability and diversity.”
“I am thrilled to welcome Brian to our team,” added Scott Shishman, region president at Old National Bank and CDFI Friendly Bloomington board member. “His background in the community tied with his government experience makes him the ideal candidate to kickoff CDFI Friendly Bloomington. Most importantly, I am excited about this unique organization that will add to the economic viability of Bloomington.”
“CDFI Friendly Bloomington is an exciting new opportunity to continue to build and enhance our community and beyond,” said Cindy Kinnarney, market president at First Financial Bank. “I am thrilled to welcome Brian to the role of executive director. His incredible skill set and passion for our community will be a tremendous asset to this organization and all of those it will serve.”
CDFI Friendly Bloomington will begin its mission with $4 million in available financing to invest alongside CDFIs in local and regional community development projects. Four leaders in the banking community – First Financial Bank, Old National Bank, German American Bank, and Woodforest National Bank – have taken leadership positions by planning $2 million in senior debt financing to CDFI Friendly Bloomington. BUEA and the Bloomington Redevelopment Commission have also each made $1 million in capital grant commitments.
Bank of America, the nation’s largest investor in CDFIs, will provide CDFIs that work with CFB extremely low-cost financing at 1%, for up to 10 years, to incent investment in Bloomington, Monroe County, and the region.
To date, few CDFIs have made loans and investments in Bloomington and Monroe County. They tend to locate in larger metropolitan markets, in part because CDFI success depends on close connections to the communities they serve. CDFI Friendly Bloomington represents a unique approach to solving this problem of making CDFI financing accessible to smaller communities. Payne sees his core purpose as “bridging the gap between problems that require local knowledge and support with the need for an increased capital investment beyond what we can provide locally.”
“I think the CDFI Friendly model is a promising idea for this city and region, and I am thrilled to get to work executing that vision,” Payne said.
The formation of CDFI Friendly Bloomington follows two years of public-private collaboration and market research to explore methods to increase and expand flexible and affordable financing options in the community. Led by a local working group, the development of CDFI Friendly Bloomington included a market assessment of potential investment opportunities, outreach to national CDFI leaders and investors, and a first-of-its-kind Bloomington symposium in 2017 with representatives of local, regional, and national CDFIs, banks, and foundations, as well as the U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund.
Initial seed funding for operations has been provided by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association, and local and regional banks.