Financial Innovations Roundtable

Financial Innovations Roundtable

Update: 2014 Summary of the Financial Innovations Roundtable is now online.

October 2013 - Partnership with the Federal Reserve Board-Division of Consumer and Community Affairs (click to read more)

Over the past five years, the Financial Innovations Roundtable has met at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Starting in 2014, the annual meeting will be hosted at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. We are excited about the new partnership with the Division of Consumer and Community Affairs at the Federal Reserve Board. Joseph Firschein and Amanda Roberts from that office will work closely with us in planning the annual meeting and other aspects of the Roundtable.


Created in 2000, the Financial Innovations Roundtable, creates cross-sector partnerships among conventional and non-traditional lenders, investors, and markets to provide low-income communities with increased access to capital and financial services. The Financial Innovations Roundtable (FIR) is not only a think tank, it is a “think-do” tank. Some of the most successful ideas developed at the FIR have been implemented, resulting in new tools, policies and practices that have resulted in millions of dollars being directed into investments in affordable housing, small and minority businesses, community facilities and other community development efforts.

The Financial Innovations Roundtable is an action-driven, implementation focused policy-level initiative, comprised of highly respected financial leaders who work and collaborate on the defined tools and needed resources to implement a scale solution for the community development finance field. FIR participants, represent a powerful assemblage of finance professionals and non-profit leaders from a diverse range of institutions—including banks, credit unions, insurance companies, investment firms, public agencies, ratings agencies, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), foundations, pension funds, religious institutions, and universities.

The full FIR group convenes annually to participate in work sessions to address financial needs in low-income communities and vet potential financial tools for the CDC / CDFI community as well as define specific policy issues that open up sources of financing and improve financial performance in the community development field. Each year 1-2 projects are advanced by the FIR.

The FIR process:

  • Identifies the immediate financial challenges, redundant costs and scale shortfalls inherent in a network of community development organizations and creates cross-sector partnerships to develop practical solutions.
  • Drills down to one or two identifiable initiatives and research activities, working to remove the barriers between conventional and non-traditional lenders, investors, and markets, and
  • Within a 12-18 month framework, begins to create products and services that provide low-income communities with a scalable, transparent and replicable process for increased access to capital and financial services.

Learn more about the annual meeting, report, book, and more...

Annual Meeting:

Summary of the 14th Annual Financial Innovations Roundtable
March 24 - 25, 2014

Summary of the 13th Annual Financial Innovations Roundtable
April 25 - 26, 2013

Summary of the 12th Annual Financial Innovations Roundtable
March 20 - 21, 2012


CDFI Industry Analysis

Interim Report:

Recommendations on the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program


Capital Markets, CDFIs and Organizational Credit Risk

by Charles Tansey, Michael Swack, Michael Tansey, and Vicki Stein

Download here or purchase book on Amazon ($35).

"In an era of limited subsidy, Tansey and Swack appropriately focus on scale, collaboration and aggregation as inescapable necessities for community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and their stakeholders. This book should be required reading for those working in and with underserved communities to advance economic opportunity."
­Luther M. Ragin Jr., Chief Investment Officer, The FB Heron Foundation, William Henry Bloomberg Lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School

"CDFIs have not been insulated from the re-discovery and re-pricing of risk. This new world presents special opportunities and challenges to mission motivated lend­ers and investors. Tansey and Swack provide pragmatic and innovative alternatives to the unsustainable status quo. They argue persuasively that scale and securitization are within the reach of many CDFIs."
­Nicolas P. Retsinas, Director, Joint Center for Housing Studies, Harvard University

"In this highly detailed and informative volume, the authors, drawing on years of hard work, tackle a critical question facing both CDFIs and the communities they serve: how can CDFIs, gain the access needed to enable them to better serve their communities, at scale? The CDFI leaders who read this book and take its lessons to heart will not only improve the management of their institutions, they will be posi­tioned to access the markets and better serve their communities."
­Ellen Seidman, Senior Research Fellow, New America Foundation

"Intelligent and forthright, this book makes a critical contribution to the new ideas that could shape the next phase of CDFI industry development. Exploring the suc­cesses and failures of the mainstream financial services sector, the authors imagine how the lessons learned might empower CDFIs to promote economic justice and sys­temic change on a larger scale than currently contemplated. This work may not be fully appreciated today, but its concepts and ideas could be a road map forward. I en­courage all practitioners and policy makers that wish to create an inclusive prosperity for all Americans to read this book."
­Jeannine Jacokes, Chief Executive Officer, Partners for the Common Good 

Faculty and Staff

Michael Swack

Michael Swack

Faculty Director, Center on Social Innovation and Finance

(603) 862-3201

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Thanks to our sponsors for their generous support of the Financial Innovations Roundtable

  • The Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • F.B. Heron Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
  • Impact Community Capital
  • NeighborWorks
  • Wells Fargo