Smiley at the CDBA Peer Forum

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Last week, we attended the 2023 Community Development Bankers Association (CDBA) Annual Peer Forum held in Washington, D.C. This important event brings together Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), Minority Development Institutions (MDIs) and Mission-Led Banks to celebrate the positive impacts and current opportunities in their commitment to helping the underserved in their communities. Smiley was again a proud sponsor of the event not only with our financial commitment but also sharing guidance and best practices regarding the reporting requirements for the Emergency Capital Investment Program (ECIP) that many of the attendee banks are participating in. 

A couple of highlights from the various sessions:  

The Economy at a Glance  

To open the conference, three economists and the CEO of a CDFI bank discussed the current economy. Some highlights worth noting: 

  1. One economist compared the current economy to 1946, which was exhibited by low unemployment and a massive drop in government spending, but the private sector performed just fine.   
  2. The increase in inflation is not from the labor market but rather from unique events such as the COVID pandemic and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.   
  3. Loan demand is still relatively strong, but liquidity is not. If banks can’t fulfill loan demand, the economy will go into a recession, said one panelist.  Hey, I’m just the messenger 😊!  

Driving Capital & Deposits  

Darrin Williams, the CEO of Southern Bancorp, Inc., and the incoming chair for the CDBA moderated a panel on Driving Capital & Deposits for Mission in Uncertain Times. Deposits are critical for CDFIs and MDIs to maximize their mission-driven impact. The panel discussed the current deposit landscape, and that the inflow and outflow of deposits has been relatively stable, which is good news for these institutions to continue to provide mission-oriented financing to their communities.  


FDIC Chairman Speaks  

A specific comment made by FDIC Chairman Marty Gruenberg was the earnings of CDFIs and MDIs exceeded the average earnings of all FDIC banks and FDIC community banks. Kudos to all you CDFIs and MDIs!  

Impact Reporting & Analytics  

Our Chief Strategy Officer Chris Raper moderated a session with Ralph Carter from Bank First, Dominik Mjartan from Optus Bank, and Madeline V. Marquez from Ponce Bank. This session was about working smarter, not harder with enhancing compliance and impact analytics. Each panelist commented about our reporting platform’s automation of data gathering and archival.  All cited the complexities of the reporting without automation with additional commentary on use cases for the data that will continue to help them serve their communities.   

Fun fact.  With the first reporting period upcoming, Smiley’s ECIP reporting solution is expected to process approximately $2.5 billion, or 40% of the funds allocated to community bankers.  We look forward to that number growing and continuing to provide services needed for the CDBA bankers.


Thank you to the CDBA for hosting the event and being a voice for CDFIs, MDIs, and Mission-Led Bank; these institutions are on the ground providing much-needed banking services to the underserved and low-to-moderate-income communities.  We thank you and are blessed to be a continued supporter.  

We’ll see you next June 12 – 13 at the 2024 CDBA Peer Forum!  

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