|Key figures Impact story|
The mission of City First Bank is to support and strengthen underserved communities through the provision of capital as a commercial lender.
City First has three core goals:
- Demonstrate that urban neighborhoods are viable markets if approached with business discipline and long-term commitment;
- Achieve sufficient lending and investment volume to affect overall market dynamics in the neighborhoods served; and
- Improve the individual economic lives of our customers and their customers.
Community leaders came together 25 years ago to eventually launch Washington DC’s first community development financial institution (CDFI) bank certified by the United States Department of the Treasury, with $9.4 million invested from public and private sources, with the intention of addressing the lack of access to finance for the region suffering from decades of disinvestment and discrimination.
This designation allowed City First to expand its services and develop New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program that subsidizes large scale development to catalyze neighborhood revitalization.
Investments include large anchor institutions to include community facilities which house health centers and charter schools, to art centers.
City First Bank is wholly-owned by CFBanc Corporation with shareholders that include regional, national and global banks, a prominent local university, the federal government, and numerous socially responsible investors. CFBanc Corporation’s largest and controlling shareholder is City First Enterprises.
Today, the City First family has grown to include not only City First Bank who is now DC’s first B Corp certified bank, City First Enterprises, a nonprofit CDFI loan fund, City First Homes, a nonprofit CDFI focused on permanently affordable housing, and City First’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) practice. Altogether collectively known as “City First”, we have deployed more than $1.2 billion in community-development financing.
As a commercial lender, City First borrowers are mainly emerging affordable housing developers and investors, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. The outcomes of these investments are represented by safer neighborhoods, higher employment, greater access to quality school seats, and more healthy and sustainable communities.
City First has historically attracted and retained the best talent and finance professionals who have a passion for not only community development, but also those that wholeheartedly believe in the mission of supporting and strengthening underserved communities. City First Bank has a full-time staff of diverse employees in various capacities. The executive management team includes:
- Brian E. Argrett, President and CEO
- Kimberly Levine, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer
- Carl Hairston, Chief Lending Officer
8-member Board of Directors, with extensive expertise in banking, real estate, accounting, government and community development finance, that is directly accountable to the low-income residents and communities of the bank’s service area.
Market Focus, Products and Services
Because City First was founded to meet the unmet capital needs of low-income persons and communities, it focuses its efforts on communities with higher poverty rates, high concentrations of minority residents, and family incomes significantly below the citywide average. City First’s customers are the residents, businesses, and non-profit organisations located in and serving these important and under resourced communities.
City First’s primary market area consists of Washington, DC and its suburban jurisdictions, as well as the Mid-Atlantic region of the country through its New Markets Tax Credit activity.
In order to achieve its mission of community development, City First offers innovative and niche products that provide access to affordable capital supporting the development of affordable housing and community facilities, small business, and commercial real estate in under-resourced communities.
City First offers traditional commercial loans and other banking products, as well as flexible products that reduce the cost of borrowing. The bank is committed to:
- Affordable Housing: Targeting its lending to developing quality housing that is affordable to all, including acquisition, construction, and renovation financing for rental and for-sale housing;
- Commercial Real Estate: Loans to finance the construction, conversion, rehabilitation, acquisition, and refinancing of commercial real estate projects that serve as catalyst and anchors to revitalisation low-income communities. The bank provides financing for office, retail, and industrial buildings;
- Community Facilities: Providing banking services to nonprofit organisations to support the development of new facilities such as charter schools and health clinics, and providing loans to support operations and ensure sufficient cash flow for operations;
- Small Businesses: Offering a full range of banking services and financing to small businesses, including start-ups that help generate jobs and services in low-income communities;
- Retail Banking Products: Operating as a full-service commercial bank offering checking, savings, money market accounts and certificate of deposits at competitive market rates to businesses and individuals located in its primary market area;
- New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) Program: The bank has received $543 million in tax credit equity to finance large-scale, high impact community development projects that help transform deeply distressed neighbourhoods and communities throughout Washington, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. To date, 45 projects have received flexible and below market financing for projects such as charter schools, health care facilities, performing arts centres, grocery stores, and social services.