Posted by Anthony Curcio on 11/10/15 8:32 AM
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Read more about me: Biography
Mr. Anthony Curcio is a Principal at Summit with nearly two decades of experience in finance and finance-related consulting and policy. Mr. Curcio is an expert in the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990, has served on a number of Federal Credit programs since 2003, and has served at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). To learn more about Mr. Curcio and his work, follow him on LinkedIn or read more on his Summit profile page. Click here to read past Summit Blog posts about Federal Credit.
We caught up with Mr. Curcio to talk about his attendance at this week's Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference in Detroit.
Q. Could you tell us a bit about opportunity finance?
A: The Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference is a coalition of mission-oriented lenders who gather to discuss best practices and cutting-edge techniques as they relate to the mission of improving the lives of the underserved through access to capital. OFN’s mission statement is as follows:
We align capital with justice: we transform lives and places for low-income, low-wealth, and disadvantaged people. We make our economy—and our nation—stronger. One opportunity at a time. Because we believe justice for all begins with opportunity. For all.
The people at OFN excel at channeling capital to parts of our country that need it most to create jobs, improve access to healthcare, alleviate poverty, and provide housing and other crucial services—an industry known as opportunity finance. Learn more about OFN here.
Being here in Detroit reminds me that access to capital is not readily-available to all American communities. Previous OFN Conference have been held in Philadelphia, San Antonio, and Denver. As a student of the opportunity finance industry—and a booth sponsor of his year’s OFN Conference here in Detroit—I’m eager to learn from the experts. I have attended for the past few years, and am excited to join again this year.
This year, the OFN Conference is highlighting the crucial work of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). In OFN's own words, “Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) provide opportunity. For all.” CDFIs provide loans and services to the most economically disadvantaged parts of our country and showcase successful public-private partnerships.
Q: Why is it so challenging to get capital to where it’s most needed?
A: Three major reasons: First, the risk of lending to underserved markets is misunderstood and, at times, exaggerated. Second, business owners, community leaders, and others who can move the capital don’t often have the typical background that lenders expect to see when they make an investment. Third, the opportunities for investment/lending are often small (compared to traditional opportunities), and therefore not lucrative enough to warrant the attention of traditional lenders.
Q: What inspired you to attend the Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) Conference for the past several years?
A: While Summit has extensive involvement in Treasury’s CDFI Fund and program/impact evaluation separately, there is always more to learn about this changing industry. (For an example, click here for a case study of Summit's work on Federal Credit support services for the CDFI Fund.) Here at Summit, mission is incredibly important, which is something we share in common with this industry. We’re proud to support a wide variety of mission-driven Federal and private projects. Our recent projects include performing impact evaluations on behalf of the Department of Labor to maximize workplace safety and developing programs to help the Department of Housing and Urban Development more efficiently use utility allowances. We’re eager to learn more about the great work being done in the opportunity finance industry.