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Low-income lenders can't meet demand

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke gives a speech in about an hour. He'll be at the Global Financial Literacy Summit in Washington, talking about Community Development Finance Institutions. They work in low-income and minority communities where major banks aren't such major players.
Tamara Keith tells us more about 'em.


Tamara Keith: CDFIs are like banks with a do-gooder mission. They lend money to low-income people. They finance affordable housing projects and small businesses. They take risks that banks don't -- to the tune of $5 billion a year. And in this financial climate, demand for their services is up.

That's according to a new report from the Opportunity Finance Network. Mark Pinsky is the network's president:

Mark Pinsky: One of the things we're seeing is small businesses who no longer have access to lines of credit that they had recently.

It's great to feel needed. But Pinsky says Community Development Finance Institutions can't lend to everyone who needs help.

Pinsky: Our capital is stable. Liquidity is down, meaning that we can't get enough new capital coming in to meet the growing demand.

The institutions will be getting some new capital soon -- $100 million from the stimulus package.

In Washington, I'm Tamara Keith for Marketplace.

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