Real Leaders

Bank Loans Designed to Make the World a Better Place

PODCAST PEOPLE: A Summary from the Real Leaders Podcast

“One of the distinct advantages we have is that we’re able to say to people what we do every day is going to make a difference in the world and it’s going to result in positive changes.”

Douglas Bystry is the Founder, President, and CEO of Clearinghouse CDFI, which believes in providing equal access to credit in neighborhoods of all income levels and ethnicities. Clearinghouse CDFI is named among the Real Leaders 100 Top Impact Companies of 2020.

The following is a summary of Episode 65 of the Real Leaders Podcast, a conversation with Clearinghouse CDFI Founder, President, and CEO, Doug Bystry. Read, or listen to the full conversation below.

Clearinghouse Community Development

Doug expands on the role of Clearinghouse as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Their mission is to provide credit in low-income or distressed communities, and areas that have difficulty accessing credit under the traditional capitalist model. Consequently, Clearinghouse CDFI combats the stigma that typically prevents these loans from being funded.

“We’re a lot like a bank, except the only loans we make are those that have some sort of tangible community benefit. That can be varied and vast. It can be everything from job creation, affordable housing, to helping a nonprofit group. But everything we make a loan on is designed to make the world a better place.”

Listen to Episode 65 on Spotify, Anchor, Crowdcast, and Apple Podcasts

Leading Reform

Doug discusses the recent Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), a step towards banking reform by requiring banks to reinvest in the areas where they’re doing business. As a result, the reform will give banks credit for investing in CRA deserts—locations with no bank branches, which include reservations and low income areas. Such reform is a step towards supporting the mission Clearinghouse CDFI has upheld all along.

“I’ve always been a person that has had a lot of drive. And the term I use is grit. I think grit is something that internally, you tell yourself, “I’m going to make this work no matter what.” And when people said, ‘You know, Doug, you can’t possibly make loans to nonprofits and be profitable.’ You have to hear that and say, ‘I’m going to prove you wrong.'”



Learn more about Clearinghouse CDFI here:

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