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City First Bank of DC

Location USA
Key figures Impact story


City First Bank of DC, NA’s (City First) mission is ‘to support and strengthen underserved communities through the provision of high quality banking and other services.’ To complement its mission, 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 customers and their customers.

City First’s primary market area consists of Washington, DC and its suburban jurisdictions, as well as the Mid-Atlanta 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 address access to affordable capital supporting the development of affordable housing and community facilities, small business, and commercial real estate in under-resourced communities.


Over twenty years ago, a group of community leaders and organisers formed to collectively address the multiple economic problems endemic in low-wealth communities throughout Washington, DC. In 1998, the result of those gatherings were the founding of City First Bank, a single branch national bank and community development financial institution (CDFI), that is committed to providing access to affordable financial products and services to low- and moderate-income communities and citizens in the Nation’s Capital.

City First’s initial capitalisation of $9.4 million from public and private sources has allowed the bank to have steady growth over the last 17 years leveraging that investment into more than $1 billion in aggregate financing to underserved communities . As of the end of 2014, City First has $241 million in total assets, over $171 million in loans outstanding, and has received $418 million in New Markets Tax Credit (“NMTC”) Program allocation authority from the US Department of Treasury to finance large-scale community facility projects in highly distressed communities.


City First Bank is part of an umbrella of mission-oriented organisations, each with a focus on serving the distressed neighborhoods of Washington, DC. City First Bank’s wholly-owned affiliate, City First New Markets, LLC, has been awarded $418 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocation authority. 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 (“CFE”), which is a non-profit CDFI that is an incubator of innovative finance solutions that promotes social justice by increasing economic access and expanding opportunity for low-wealth communities. CFE has one subsidiary, City First Homes (CFHomes), which supports the development of affordable workforce housing in the District.


City First has historically attracted and retained the best talent and banking professionals who have a passion for not only community development, but also those that wholeheartedly believe in the bank’s 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
  • Shaun Murphy, Chief Credit and Risk Officer
  • Kimberly Levine, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Compliance Officer
  • William Frazier, Chief Lending Officer
  • Natalie Smith, Chief Human Capital Officer
  • 15-member Board of Directors, with extensive expertise in banking, real estate, accounting, 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

City First Bank’s primary market area consists of the entirety of Washington, DC and its suburban jurisdictions, as well as other urban markets in the Mid-Atlantic region of the country. 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.

The 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 affordable housing, including acquisition, construction, and renovation financing for rental and for-sale housing;
  • Commercial Real Estate: Loans to finance the construction, conversion, rehabilitation, and 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 retail 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 $418 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, 40 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.

Key figures for City First Bank of DC

* Figures in USD million
** Based on local currency
Total Assets262257241214226
Funds Under Management00000
Total Assets and Funds Under Management262257241214226
Loans (net)132162166152139
Loans to Total Assets50,3%63,0%69,0%70,9%61,4%
Client Funding208195191171182
Client Funding to Total Assets79,4%75,6%79,3%80,0%80,7%
Equity to Total Assets11,6%13,4%13,8%15,0%13,3%
Tier 1 Capital Ratio18,7%18,6%17,4%18,9%17,7%
Total Revenue12,612,513,314,813,0
Net Income2,81,72,13,72,6
Return on Assets1,05%0,66%0,87%1,75%1,15%
Return on Equity9,05%4,97%6,31%11,66%8,67%
Cost to Income Ratio79,3%73,0%69,2%59,4%65,7%
Assets Growth (One Year)**1,91%6,74%12,74%-5,30%33,54%
Loan Growth (One Year)**-18,62%-2,60%9,77%9,35%12,25%
Client Funding Growth (One Year)**6,93%1,81%11,81%-6,22%43,06%

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