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Rating:Community Reinvesting Goes Mainstream Not Rated 3.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, March 20, 2001

Community Reinvesting Goes Mainstream

Reported by Alfred Wang

Non-profit money talks at CRAFunds, where high interest from organizations researching socially-responsible investing caused the Weston, Florida-based firm to shift investor targets. The CRA Qualified Investment Fund, originally developed to assist bank compliance with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, announced today its strategy aimed at capturing retail and non-bank institutional investors.

"It was difficult for banks to find investments satisfying the community development aspect of the Act," said a CRA funds spokesperson, explaining the history. "And then some non-profit organizations came aboard, and spurred us on to this new market."

Under the label "Direct Impact Investing," CRA funds offers investors the capacity to specify the geographic region, starting at a three-mile radius, in which to invest the money. The portfolio manager, Todd Cohen, will select visible vehicles, typified by targeted mortgage-backed securities, job creation bonds, and project loans.

To date, the fund, with $35 million in assets under management, has relied on a word-of-mouth marketing campaign supplemented by some direct mail. The no-load funds require a $250,000 minimum investment, and discussions are underway to lower that to $5,000. Backoffice services are provided by the Declation Group. 

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