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The Responsible Finance Podcast

Jan 10, 2019

Jennifer Tankard interviews Cliff Rosenthal who has been an influential leader in the United States' community finance movement for two decades. Cliff is the author of the new book, Democratizing Finance -
Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement.

In this fascinating and wide ranging discussion, Jennifer asks Cliff about:

• the origins of the movement since Benjamin Franklin's endowment of revolving loan funds in 1790,

• President Clinton's progress after his campaign promise to launch 100 community development banks and 1000 micro enterprise programmes,

• whether CDFIs fulfilled initial expectations to become full service community banks – they have had transformative social effects but not transformed banking - why not?

• why there's been a "lamentable" decline in the number of banks and credit unions that serve minority communities

• whether CDFIs can really tackle the level of financial exclusion faced by people in America,

• cross-Atlantic learning about regulating payday lenders,

• CDFIs in America often finance large and complex projects – what can we learn about managing risks?

• two specific dilemmas for community development finance institutions in the USA which are especially relevant to the UK's responsible finance providers,

• as finance becomes increasingly complex and technical, does democracy of finance really matter and is it possible?

• what actions are taking place to improve diversity in CDFIs' leadership?

• could opening up publicly-owned banks in order to solve the cannabis banking problem generate funding for public investment?

• the future for the sector given the challenging political environment,

• the basis of Cliff's "considerable optimism" for the future of community development finance in the USA, despite the countering forces whether payday lenders or budgetary austerity.