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Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) Inviting Applications for the Community Development Financial Institutions Program “ Technical Assistance Component (incorporating Native American Technical Assistance)

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Department of the Treasury.

ACTION:

Notice of funds availability (“NOFA”) inviting applications for the FY 2003 and FY 2004 funding rounds of the Technical Assistance Component of the Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFI”) Program.

SUMMARY:

This NOFA is issued in connection with the FY 2003 and FY 2004 funding rounds of the Technical Assistance Component of the CDFI Program. Through the Technical Assistance Component of the CDFI Program, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (the “Fund”) provides technical assistance (“TA”) grants to CDFIs, and entities proposing to become CDFIs, in order to build their capacity to better address the community development and capital access needs of their particular target markets, including Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.

Subject to funding availability, the Fund expects that it may award approximately $13 million for FY 2003 awards, and approximately $4.5 million for FY 2004 awards, in appropriated funds under this Technical Assistance Component NOFA. The Fund expects that, within the FY 2003 amount, it will award up to $3 million to CDFIs, and entities proposing to become CDFIs, that principally serve Native American, Alaska Native and/or Native Hawaiian communities. The Fund reserves the right to award in excess of said funds under this NOFA provided that the appropriated funds are available and the Fund deems it appropriate. The Fund reserves the right to re-allocate funds from the amount that is anticipated to be available under this NOFA to other Fund programs, particularly if the Fund determines that the number of awards made under this NOFA is fewer than projected. The Fund intends to make information available on its Web site about the level of dollars remaining available on a regular basis.

Applicants should note that the Fund expects that the funding round for this NOFA (and the NOFA for the NACD Program, also published in the Federal Register on this date) will extend over a two-year funding round, subject to funding availability and Fiscal Year 2004 appropriations.

Under this NOFA, the Fund anticipates making TA grants up to $50,000 per Technical Assistance Component awardee and up to $100,000 per awardee principally serving Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian communities. The Fund, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to award amounts in excess of the anticipated maximum award amount if the Fund deems it appropriate. The Fund reserves the right to fund, in whole or in part, any, all, or none of the applications submitted in response to this NOFA.

The interim rule (12 CFR part 1805), also published in this issue of the Federal Register, provides guidance on evaluation criteria and other requirements of the CDFI Program. Detailed application content requirements are found in the application related to this NOFA. The Preamble to the Fund's NOFAs, published in this issue of the Federal Register also specifies other program information, including eligibility requirements, for each of the Fund's programs. While the Fund encourages applicants to review the interim rule and the Preamble to the NOFAs, all of the application content requirements and the evaluation criteria set forth in the interim rule are set forth in the application.

DATES:

Simultaneously with or shortly following the publication of this NOFA, the Fund will make available the FY 2003 funding application on its Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov. Applicants may download the application from the Fund's Web site or request application packages by contacting the Fund, as described below.

The Fund will accept and review applications under this Technical Assistance Component NOFA as they are submitted and in the order in which they are submitted. Applications may be submitted at any time, commencing with the date of the publication of this NOFA. Applications must be received in the specific Bureau of the Public Debt—Franchise Services (BPD) office designated below not later than 5 p.m. ET on May 31, 2004. Any applicant whose application is declined may submit a new application before May 31, 2004. Applications received in the specific BPD office designated below after that date and time will be rejected and returned to the sender.

Applications sent by facsimile or e-mail will not be accepted; however, an electronic application may be made available for this NOFA at a later date and, if so, its availability and related guidance will be announced on the Fund's Web site.

ADDRESSES:

Applications must be sent to: CDFI Fund Awards Manager, TA Component, Bureau of Public Debt—Franchising, 200 Third Street, Room 211, Parkersburg, WV 26101. The telephone number to be used in conjunction with overnight mailings to this address is (304) 480-5450. Applications will not be accepted at the Fund's offices. Applications received in the Fund's offices will be rejected and returned to the sender.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

If you have any questions about the programmatic requirements for this program, contact the Fund's Program Operations Manager. If you have questions regarding administrative requirements, contact the Fund's Awards Manager. The Program Operations Manager and the Awards Manager may be reached by e-mail at cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, by telephone at (202) 622-6355, by facsimile at (202) 622-7754, or by mail at CDFI Fund, 601 13th Street, NW., Suite 200 South, Washington, DC 20005. These are not toll free numbers. Applications and other information regarding the Fund and its programs may be downloaded and printed from the Fund's Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov or requested by contacting the Fund, as described above. Allow at least one to two weeks from the date the Fund receives the request for receipt of the application.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Eligibility

The Act and the interim rule specify the eligibility requirements that each applicant must meet in order to be eligible to apply for assistance under this NOFA. The following sets forth additional details and certain additional dates that relate to the submission of applications under this NOFA:

(1) Eligible Applicants: Eligible applicants for the Technical Assistance Component of the CDFI Program consist of CDFIs and entities proposing to become CDFIs. Start Printed Page 5736

(2) Certification: For purposes of this Technical Assistance Component NOFA, eligible applicants consist of:

(i) Certified CDFIs whose certifications expire after June 30, 2003;

(ii) Entities that submit complete applications evidencing CDFI certification prior to or simultaneous with applications under this NOFA; or

(iii) Entities that demonstrate in their certification applications that, in the judgment of the Fund, they have reasonable plans to become certified CDFIs by January 31, 2005 (for applications received by May 31, 2003) or by January 31, 2006 (for applications received between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004). Applicants must be certified by the applicable date. Applicants may obtain CDFI certification applications through the Fund's Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov.

(3) Previous Awardees: Applicants must be aware that success in a previous round of the CDFI Program or the Native American CDFI Technical Assistance (“NACTA”) Program is not indicative of success under this NOFA. Previous awardees are eligible to apply under this NOFA, except as follows:

(a) Any entity that has received a Notice of Award from the Fund for a previous CDFI Program or NACTA Program funding round, but that has not submitted a CDFI certification application nor been certified as a CDFI, is not eligible to receive funding under this NOFA (see Certification section, above);

(b) The Fund is generally prohibited from obligating more than $5 million in assistance, in the aggregate, to any one organization and its Subsidiaries and Affiliates during any three-year period (further guidance on the calculation of the $5 million cap is available on the Fund's Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov);

(c) The Fund will not consider an application submitted by an applicant that is a previous Fund awardee under any Fund program or component of the CDFI Program if the applicant has failed to meet its reporting requirements, set forth in a previously executed assistance or award agreement(s), as of the date an application for funding under this NOFA is received by the Fund; and

(d) The Fund will not consider an application submitted by an applicant that is a previous Fund awardee under any Fund program or component of the CDFI Program that has a balance of undisbursed funds under said previous award, as of the date an application for funding under this NOFA is received by the CDFI Fund. Accordingly, applicants that are previous awardees are advised to:

(i) Submit all required reports by the deadlines specified in the assistance or award agreements governing said prior awards and to comply with all requirements found therein, and

(ii) Contact the appropriate Program Operations representative of the Fund to ensure that all necessary actions are underway for the disbursement of any outstanding balance of said prior award. In addition, in order to focus its resources on applicants that are most in need of TA awards, the Fund does not expect to make awards under this NOFA to any entity that has received Fund awards under the CDFI Program or the NACTA Program in excess of $250,000, in the aggregate.

(4) Serving a Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian community: For the purposes of this NOFA, the Fund will determine, in its sole discretion, that an applicant serves a Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian community if greater than 50 percent of its historic and projected activities benefit Native American, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian individuals.

(5) Designation of Targeted Population: For purposes of this NOFA, the Fund will use the following definitions, set forth in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Notice, Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity (October 30, 1997):

(a) American Indian, Native American or Alaska Native: a person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America) and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment; and

(b) Native Hawaiian: a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii.

II. Types of Assistance

An applicant may only submit an application for a TA grant under this NOFA. The Fund reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to provide a TA grant for uses other than that which is requested by an applicant.

Applicants for TA grants under this NOFA shall describe the type(s) of TA requested, when the TA will be acquired, the provider(s) of the TA, the cost of the TA, and a narrative description of how the TA will enhance their community development impact. Eligible types of TA grant uses include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Acquiring consulting services;

(2) Paying staff salary for the limited purposes of completing tasks and/or fulfilling functions that are otherwise eligible TA grant uses under this NOFA;

(3) Acquiring/enhancing technology items; and

(4) Acquiring training for staff or management.

The Fund will generally not consider requests for TA grants under this NOFA for expenses that, in the determination of the Fund, are deemed to be ongoing operating expenses rather than non-recurring expenses. The Fund will consider requests for use of TA to pay for staff salary only when the applicant demonstrates, to the Fund's satisfaction, that:

(i) The staff salary relates directly to building the applicant's capacity to serve its target market;

(ii) The proposed staff time to be paid for by the TA grant will be used for a non-recurring activity that will build the applicant's capacity to achieve its objectives as set forth in its application;

(iii) The proposed capacity-building activity would otherwise be contracted to a consultant or not be undertaken; and

(iv) The staff person assigned to the proposed task has the competence to successfully complete the activity. The Fund may consider funding requests for other staff salary uses, deemed appropriate by the Fund in its sole discretion, particularly for applicants that have been in operation 24 months or less as of the date of application. Further guidance on the limited uses of TA grants for staff salary expenditures is available on the Fund's Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov.

III. Application

Applicants under this NOFA must submit all materials described in the applicable application form. An application must include a valid and current Employer Identification Number, issued by the Internal Revenue Service, or the application will be rejected as incomplete and returned to the sender.

IV. Evaluation

For purposes of this NOFA, the Fund will evaluate applications through a merit-based, qualitative application process, as they are submitted and in the order in which they are submitted, until such point as all appropriated funds allocated for this NOFA are obligated or May 31, 2004, whichever occurs first. Applications submitted after that point will not be considered for funding; said applications will be rejected and returned to the sender.

All applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness. If determined to be eligible and complete, the Fund will conduct the substantive review of each application in Start Printed Page 5737accordance with the criteria and procedures described in the interim regulations, this NOFA and the application. In the first part of the substantive review, the Fund will evaluate each application on a 100-point scale, comprising the four criteria categories set forth below, and assign numeric scores. Applicants must score at least 10 points for each of criteria 1, 2, and 3; and at least 20 points for criteria 4. Applicants whose applications are assigned 60 points or more will be considered for TA awards.

(1) Market Need and CDFI Strategy: including a review of the applicant's understanding of its market context, its current and prospective customers, the extent of economic distress within the designated Investment Area(s) or the extent of need within the designated Targeted Population(s), the extent of need for the CDFI, the level of support for the Target Market, and the appropriateness of the proposed products, services and delivery strategy to meet the needs in the market. For any entity that has already received an award from the Fund, the applicant also will be evaluated on the extent to which it proposes to create greater community development impact than to be achieved through the prior award and its track record in meeting previous performance goals and other Assistance Agreement requirements (maximum 20 points);

(2) Management: including a review of the applicant's current and proposed management team, governing board, and key staff, its policies and procedures for financial management, and its track record in underwriting and portfolio management and ability to achieve the objectives set forth in its application and to successfully use the requested TA. For any applicant that has received one or more prior awards through the CDFI Program, the Fund will consider the extent to which the applicant has submitted required reports in a timely manner and otherwise complied with the Fund's requirements (maximum 20 points);

(3) Financial Health and Resources: including a review of the applicant's financial strength, its liquidity, and the likelihood of obtaining resources to sustain operations, and a clear indication that the CDFI will not be fiscally dependent on the Fund (maximum 20 points); and

(4) Community Development Performance and Effective Use of TA: including the projected level of activity within the Target Market; the extent to which the proposed activities are expected to promote homeownership, affordable housing development, economic development, provision of affordable financial services, and other community development objectives; the extent to which the applicant needs the Fund's assistance to achieve the objectives set forth in its application; and the likelihood that the Fund's assistance will enhance the applicant's ability to effectively serve its Target Market and achieve community development impact (maximum 40 points).

Fund reviewers will evaluate and score each application and make recommendations for funding to the Fund's selecting official. As part of the substantive review process, applicants may receive a telephone interview or an on-site visit by Fund reviewers for the purpose of obtaining, clarifying, or confirming information. During the review process, the applicant may be required to submit additional information about its application in order to assist the Fund in its final evaluation process. Such requests must be responded to within the time parameters set by the Fund.

In the case of an applicant that has previously received funding from the Fund under the Bank Enterprise Award (BEA) Program, CDFI Program or the Native American CDFI Technical Assistance (NACTA) Program, the Fund will consider, as appropriate:

(a) The applicant's level of success and extent of compliance in meeting its performance goals, financial soundness covenants (if applicable), reporting requirements and other requirements set forth in the assistance or award agreement(s) with the Fund;

(b) The benefits that will be created with new Fund assistance over and above benefits created by previous Fund assistance; and

(c) The extent and effectiveness to which the applicant has used previous assistance from the Fund.

The Fund's selecting official will make a final funding determination based on the applicant's file, reviewer scores and recommendations, and the amount of funds available. In the case of regulated CDFIs, the selecting official will also take into consideration the views of the appropriate Federal banking agencies.

Each applicant will be informed of the Fund's award decision either through a Notice of Award if selected for an award (see Notice of Award section, below) or a declination letter, if not selected for an award, which may be for reasons of application incompleteness, ineligibility or substantive issues. Any applicant that is not selected for an award due to application incompleteness or ineligibility, and that believes that such decision was made in error, may appeal said decision by notifying the Fund's Awards Manager in writing or by e-mail (at cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, Attention: Awards Manager); such appeals must be received by the Fund within five business days of the date of the declination letter. Such appeal requests will be reviewed by the Fund's Deputy Director for Management and the Deputy Director for Policy and Programs, as appropriate, whose decision will be final. All applicants that are not selected for awards based on substantive issues, will be given the opportunity to request feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of their applications. This feedback will be provided in a format and within a timeframe to be determined by the Fund, based on available resources.

The Fund reserves the right to change these evaluation procedures if the Fund deems it appropriate; if said procedural changes materially affect the Fund's award decisions, the Fund will provide information regarding the procedural changes through the Fund's Web site.

VI. Notice of Award

The Fund will signify its selection of an applicant as an awardee by delivering a signed Notice of Award to the applicant. The Notice of Award will contain the general terms and conditions underlying the Fund's provision of assistance including, but not limited to, the requirement that an awardee and the Fund enter into an Assistance Agreement. The applicant must execute the Notice of Award and return it to the Fund. By executing a Notice of Award, the awardee agrees that, if prior to entering into an Assistance Agreement with the Fund, information comes to the attention of the Fund that either adversely affects the awardee's eligibility for an award, or adversely affects the Fund's evaluation of the awardee's application, or indicates fraud or mismanagement on the part of the awardee, the Fund may, in its discretion and without advance notice to the awardee, terminate the Notice of Award or take such other actions as it deems appropriate. Moreover, by executing a Notice of Award, an awardee agrees that, if prior to entering into an Assistance Agreement with the Fund, the Fund determines that the awardee is not in compliance with the terms of any previous Assistance Agreement entered into with the Fund, the Fund may, in its discretion and without advance notice to the awardee, either terminate the Notice of Award or take such other actions as it deems appropriate. The Fund reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to rescind its award if the Start Printed Page 5738awardee fails to return the Notice of Award, signed by the authorized representative of the awardee, along with any other requested documentation, within the deadline set by the Fund.

VII. Assistance Agreement

Each applicant that is selected to receive an award under this NOFA must enter into an Assistance Agreement with the Fund. The Assistance Agreement will set forth certain required terms and conditions of the award, which will include, but not be limited to:

(a) The amount of the award;

(b) The approved uses of the award;

(c) The approved Target Market to which the award must be targeted;

(d) Performance goals and measures; and

(e) Reporting requirements for all awardees.

Assistance Agreements under this NOFA will generally have two-year performance periods. The Fund reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to rescind its award if the awardee fails to return the Assistance Agreement, signed by the authorized representative of the awardee, along with any other requested documentation, within the deadline set by the Fund.

VIII. Reporting and Monitoring

The Fund will collect information, on at least an annual basis, from all CDFI Program awardees, including:

(a) Annual reports related to, among other matters, awardee compliance with the performance goals and measures set forth in the Assistance Agreement;

(b) Audited financial statements;

(c) Annual surveys; and

(d) Such other information as the Fund may require, including loan level data.

The Fund will use such information to monitor each awardee's compliance with the requirements set forth in the Assistance Agreement. The Fund will also use such information to assess the impact of the CDFI Program. The Fund reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to modify these reporting requirements if it determines it to be appropriate and necessary; however, such reporting requirements will be modified only after due notice to the awardee.

The Fund reserves the right, in accordance with applicable Federal law and if authorized, to charge award reservation and/or compliance monitoring fees to all entities receiving CDFI Program awards. Prior to imposing any such fee, the Fund will publish additional information concerning the nature and amount of the fee.

IX. Information Sessions

In connection with the Fiscal Year 2003 funding rounds of its programs, the Fund may conduct Information Sessions to disseminate information to organizations contemplating applying to, and other organizations interested in learning about, the Technical Assistance and Financial Assistance Components of the CDFI Program, the NACD Program, and the BEA Program. For further information on the Fund's Information Sessions, dates and locations, or to register online to attend an Information Session, please visit the Fund's Web site at http://www.cdfifund.gov or call the Fund at (202) 622-8401.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance: 21.020)

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Authority: 12 U.S.C. 4703, 4703 note, 4704, 4706, 4707, 4717; 12 CFR part 1805.

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Dated: January 27, 2003.

Tony T. Brown,

Director, Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.

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[FR Doc. 03-2339 Filed 2-3-03; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4810-70-P