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February 28, 2010; | While bank lending has, according to a Wall Street Journal report, seen its biggest drop since 1942 and federal lawmakers argue over how to deploy $30 billion (through community banks or directly through the Small Business Association) and oversee it as loans to small business, nonprofit economic development funds have continued to take risks on even the earliest and smallest of start-ups. This article tells the story of four such nonprofit micro-loan funds in New Jersey. But, according to the CDFI Data Project, over 1,250 of these nonprofit lending institutions exist all over the country, and more than 800 that have been officially certified by the Department of the Treasury’s CDFI Fund and can be found at the handy dandy CDFI State Locator. In this article published in May 2009, author Tim Holt wrote “Bay Area micro-lenders I spoke with say they could be making anywhere from double to 10 times the number of loans they are now, if they had more capital.” These lenders, many with deep experience partnering with the SBA and banks could be excellent outlets for loans to small business. It will be interesting to watch where they end up fitting in this much contested area but this January 20 Business Week article suggests that the profile and big bank partnerships of CDFIs may be on the rise in the realm of small business lending in addition to their traditional lending priorities in housing and community facilities.—Ruth McCambridge