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Tue, 06/07/2011 - 15:15 | by Geoff Wisner
Domini Social Bond Fund Adds Four Community Development Financial Institutions to Its Portfolio
The Domini Social Bond Fund has added four new high-impact community development investments to its portfolio, including a $250,000 “Job Builder CD” with Hope Federal Credit Union of Jackson, Mississippi, an investment designed to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in economically distressed communities. Small businesses are a strong engine for job growth and expansion of economic opportunity, goals to which the Fund is committed.
In addition, the Fund purchased certificates of deposit (CDs) with three other community development financial institutions: Community Capital Bank of Virginia, Promerica Bank, and Self Help Federal Credit Union. The Fund purchased certificates of deposit totaling $1 million in these four institutions, and now invests in a total of 18 community banks and credit unions across the country.
You can help build communities by investing in the Domini Social Bond Fund with a minimum investment of $2,500, or $1,500 for an IRA or an account with an automatic investment plan. Learn more about the Domini Social Bond Fund.
Find out more about the four new Community Development Financial Institutions that were added to the Domini Social Bond Fund’s portfolio:
Hope Federal Credit Union
Hope Federal Credit Union, based in Jackson, Mississippi, provides financial services to underserved populations in four of the six states with the country’s lowest median household incomes: Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Thousands of residents of these states recently lost homes and businesses to hurricanes and flooding.
Joseph Sy, a real estate developer, purchased a rundown apartment complex and a vacant strip mall in a Latino area of Memphis, Tennessee. The area had become a magnet for crime and drug use, and his goal was to turn it into a vibrant shopping destination. With financing and operating capital from Hope Federal Credit Union and its sponsor, Enterprise Corporation of the Delta (ECD), he transformed the properties into a lively outdoor flea market filled with vendors and artisans. “This flea market has turned the area around. Neighborhood crime is down, property values are up and people are proud of their community again,” Mr. Sy explained.
Since 1994, Hope Federal Credit Union and ECD have generated over $1 billion in financing for entrepreneurs, homebuyers, hurricane recovery, and community development projects, while maintaining responsible lending practices. During 2009, more than 60% of Hope’s housing loans were made to low-income borrowers. Over 40% of commercial loans went to minority- and women-owned businesses. Hope offers financial education and alternatives to high-cost predatory loans, and helps victims of predatory lending and deceptive credit practices by refinancing their debts with lower rates.
Community Capital Bank of Virginia
Based in Christiansburg, Virginia, Community Capital Bank of Virginia was established in August 2008. Reportedly the first state-chartered community bank in Virginia, its deposit services are targeted to institutional investors, community banks, and socially conscious investors. The bank provides commercial loans for affordable housing and mixed-use projects, economic development deals, and community facilities throughout Virginia.
Promerica Bank of Los Angeles focuses on the city’s Latino business community, providing financial products and services tailored to its needs. Nearly 100% of Promerica’s loans go to small and medium-sized enterprises, and 60% of these are made to Latino-owned businesses.
Self Help Federal Credit Union
Self Help Federal Credit Union, based in North Carolina, recently launched a new credit union in California, to help address predatory lending in the region. The Domini Social Bond Fund is a long-time supporter of Self Help, and it has now expanded its support to a statewide network of California branches. Through its policy affiliate, the Center for Responsible Lending, Self Help “has protected homeownership and family wealth by working to eliminate abusive financial practices.”
The Domini Social Bond Fund is not insured and is subject to market risks, including interest rate risks and credit risks. Investment return, principal value, and yield will fluctuate. Your shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
During periods of rising interest rates, bond funds can lose value. The Fund currently holds a large percentage of its portfolio in mortgage-backed securities. During periods of falling interest rates, mortgage-backed securities may prepay the principal due, which may lower the Fund’s return by causing it to reinvest at lower interest rates. Some of the Fund's community development investments may be unrated and carry greater credit risks than its other investments.
The composition of the Fund's portfolio is subject to change. View the most current list of the Domini Social Bond Fund’s holdings. This commentary should not be considered a recommendation of the financial attractiveness as an investment of any of the issuers mentioned. Neither Domini Social Investments or the Domini Social Bond Fund are affiliated with any bank.