Episode 11: The Catalytic Impact of a $40 Million Investment in the CDFI Sector

Episode 11: The Catalytic Impact of a $40 Million Investment in the CDFI Sector

This episode interviews the following leaders in community development:

  • Lynette Bell, President of the Truist Foundation
  • Armeer Kenchen, Executive Director CornerSquare Community Capital and the NC Rural Center’s State Small Business Credit Initiatives
  • Harold Pettigrew, CEO Wacif
  • Jerrell “J” Deaver, “retired” banker from First Citizens Bank, Board Member and Investment Committee Chair Natural Capital Investment Fund

BB&T and SunTrust formed Truist with a shared purpose – to inspire and build better lives and communities equally and equitably across all geographies. By providing grants in support of nonprofit organizations through the Truist Foundation, we can help grow their impact. In the first half of this episode, we will hear from Lynette Bell, President of the Truist Foundation. Learn more about why Truist decided to invest $40 million in the CDFI sector and how banks, both large and small, should go about approaching CDFIs in their respective markets.

In the second half of this episode, we will hear from three members of the new CornerSquare Community Capital Team – Armeer Kenchen (Executive Director CornerSquare Community Capital and the NC Rural Center’s State Small Business Credit Initiatives), Jerrell “J” Deaver (Board Member and Investment Committee Chair Natural Capital Investment Fund), and Harold Pettigrew (CEO Wacif). Launched by the NC Rural Center and Truist, CornerSquare emerged from the BB&T and SunTrust merger and is a new resource for the CDFI sector. Through this innovative program, one hundred percent of funding will be allocated to racially and ethnically diverse small business owners, women, and individuals in low- and moderate-income communities, with a focus on Black-owned small businesses.

Modeled after the NC Rural Center’s Loan Participation Program, CornerSquare Community Capital will be a long-term, sustainable solution to support CDFIs working with small businesses at the local level. By purchasing a portion of loans made by a CDFI to historically underserved entrepreneurs, CornerSquare will enable the participating CDFIs to increase their lending capacity with their existing capital, ultimately expanding their reach and support to more small businesses in their operating areas. It will also enable CDFIs to lower transaction risk through the program’s subordinate position, allowing participating lenders to support high mission projects that otherwise might not have fit their credit criteria.

CornerSquare Community Capital will initially focus on CDFIs located in Truist’s footprint, which includes the following states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C.

There are currently five CDFI partners in the program: ACE,NCIFund, Pathway Lending, Wacif, and BBIF. CornerSquare Community Capital is accepting additional CDFIs, as well as Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs) into the program. Interested organizations should contact Julia Malinowski, Director of Strategic Initiatives at jmalinowski@cornersquare.org. CornerSquare will operate as a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center, a nonprofit that has worked for more than 30 years to support small business owners and entrepreneurs in low- and moderate-income communities. For general inquiries, contact info@cornersquare.org.

The Washington Area Community Investment Fund’s (Wacif) mission is to promote equity and economic opportunity in underserved neighborhoods in the Washington, D.C. region. Their mission is driven by three strategic pillars: inclusive entrepreneurship, community wealth building, and equitable economic development, and is fulfilled by providing access to capital products and services, and capacity building technical assistance to low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs.

The Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIFund) specializes in triple-bottom-line enterprises—those that address the “3 E’s”:

  • Economy: Generates a viable financial return, either by maintaining or creating profits, return on investment, or a tangible asset.
  • Equity: Provides an opportunity for disadvantaged groups to access information, financial resources, vital community services, or livelihoods/employment.
  • Ecology: Benefits or lessens impact on the natural world by improving stewardship of natural resources, or reducing energy use, waste, pollution, or materials use.

For general inquiries about Natural Capital Investment Fund, contact Marten Jenkins at mjenkins@conservationfund.org or 681-252-4276.

CRA Today and the CRA Hub

Linda Ezuka, Founder, CRA Today and the CRA Hub



The CRA Hub is a new way to connect and forge community development impact through our CRA programs. The CRA Hub is an exclusive membership for bank professionals to connect with fellow colleagues, find inspiration and master the art of the CRA.

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