A lifeline for relief, CDFIs are even more essential now for the recovery of under-banked businesses

Borrowers Survey

Starting in August 2020, 60 Decibels, with funding from the Surdna Foundation and Ceniarth, partnered with CDFIs to understand the impact of COVID-19 on small businesses and the experience of obtaining PPP assistance. They spoke directly to 1,073 small business owners who are customers of Southern Bancorp, Optus Bank, TruFund Financial Services, Hope Credit Union, BBIF, and MoFi.

Serving the underbanked

CDFIs were essential in reaching small business owners that were largely left out of PPP assistance nationally. In the early rush to secure PPP funding, most national banks gave preference to existing, large customers leaving smaller enterprises out of luck. CDFIs stepped into this void.

Racial disparities

What if these businesses had not been able to access PPP, like so many throughout the country?

High marks

After finding their way to a CDFI — one-third of respondents had formally tried unsuccessfully to access PPP through another lender — small business owners received excellent service and support in navigating the PPP application and forgiveness. 60 Decibels measures this satisfaction through a Net Promoter Score (NPS), an indicator that captures a customer’s propensity to recommend a service to others. The participating CDFIs achieved an average Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 79; any NPS above 50 is considered very good.

Listen Better

CDFIs continue to play a critical role in reaching and supporting small businesses through the PPP and beyond. Despite their exceptional assistance, Black business owners were less prepared, hit harder, and are recovering more slowly from COVID shutdowns.

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60 Decibels

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