Opportunity Finance Network Announces 2009 Wachovia NEXT Awards for Innovative Lending Programs

The Philadelphia-based Opportunity Finance Network has announced prizes totaling $8.25 million to the winners of the 2009 Wachovia NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance.

Created and funded in partnership with the Wachovia and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur foundations, the awards recognize top performing community development financial institutions (CDFIs) for lending programs directly benefiting low- and moderate-income communities. The winners, the New Hampshire-based Community Loan Fund and the Kentucky-based Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises, will receive a total of $8.25 million in grants and low-cost loans.

Selected for its expansion of an innovative financing program for manufactured housing mortgage loans, CLF, which will receive a $5 million low-cost loan and an unrestricted $500,000 grant, has financed more than 1,400 loans totaling more than $100 million and leveraged an additional $348 million to build housing, create jobs, and support essential services such as child care and community facilities. FAHE, which will receive a $2.5 million low-cost loan and a $250,000 unrestricted grant, provided $41 million in direct financing in 2008 to groups in Central Appalachia, where its members produced 3,800 housing units.

"Each award recipient has blazed an unlikely trail on solid ground against expectations," said OFN president and CEO Mark Pinsky. "These awards recognize the outstanding achievements and extraordinary future potential of two leading CDFIs. The Wachovia NEXT Awards also spotlight how the entire opportunity finance field benefits our nation's economy through responsible lending, investing, and financial services."