WOMEN-LED FINTECH PLATFORM DEBUTS IMPACT CUSTOMIZATION SERVICE THAT LETS CORPORATE TREASURIES INVEST TO MEET DEI GOALS
- CNote’s enterprise-level, one-stop-shop service channels corporate capital into community development financial institutions and offers quarterly impact reporting
- New customization service responds to shareholder and employee demands for change while simplifying investments in Black-led CDFIs and underserved communities
Oakland, CA – CNote, a women-led fintech firm working to close the wealth gap for women and people of color, has launched a new customization service that allows CFOs and corporate treasury departments to invest in community development financial institutions selected to meet their particular diversity, equity and inclusion goals and improve their performance on ESG measures.
CNote can customize a portfolio of CDFI loan fund investments by region and focus. Treasury teams can choose to invest in Black-led CDFIs, for example, or CDFI loan funds focused on low-income women entrepreneurs or climate adaptation in disproportionately impacted communities. CNote then does all the work, funneling funds to mission-aligned institutions exactly when they need them.
According to Catherine Berman, CEO and co-founder of CNote, “With this new customization service, we’re giving treasury leaders an easy way to invest in support of their company’s social and environmental goals.”
“Corporations are facing mounting pressure as shareholders, employees and customers call on them to address racial, gender and community disparities. Investing corporate funds to specifically target impact goals is low-hanging fruit for business leaders looking to gain a competitive edge,” says Berman.
Unlocking CDFIs as an asset class: CNote connects the dots
Black-led CDFIs remain underfunded, despite a wave of interest following last summer’s racial justice protests. The Hope Policy Institute found that support for minority-led CDFIs was declining: From 2014 to 2017, the assets of white-led CDFIs grew $21.8 billion (a 163% rise), while the assets of minority-led CDFIs grew just $682.5 million (13.6%).
Using technology and a proprietary underwriting process, CNote provides a frictionless way for corporations to invest in CDFIs, which are essential frontline resources for businesses and communities not served by big banks.
Individual CDFIs can’t always handle the amount of money a corporation seeks to invest, and it’s impractical for corporate treasury departments to handle diligence, deployment and reporting on investments in a large ecosystem of community institutions. CNote solves this problem by investing funds throughout its vetted nationwide network of CDFIs.
Benefits include impact reporting and talent recruiting and retention
Berman notes that impact reporting is a key piece of the puzzle for businesses, given a growing level of public scrutiny on impact claims. CNote provides quarterly impact reporting to share with all stakeholders.
She adds that CDFI investments can be a risk management strategy for companies. “Just as companies make gains from diversifying their boards, treasury departments can improve financial performance along with impact performance by diversifying their cash holdings and investments,” she says.
CNote can also work with corporate partners that want to help their employees make impact investments. Increasingly, says Berman, corporate leaders are seeing impact investments as an opportunity to attract and retain talented people who care deeply about racial justice and inclusion and aren’t satisfied with splashy CSR reports and a few community grants.
CNote is a women-led impact investment platform that uses technology to unlock diversified and proven community investments to generate economic mobility and financial inclusion. Every dollar invested on CNote’s platform funds small businesses owned by women and people of color, affordable housing and economic development in financially underserved communities across America. With the mission of closing the wealth gap, CNote’s customizable products allow anyone to generate social and economic returns by investing in the causes and communities they care about.