Technical Assistance


CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Best Practices Program


The EDA Revolving Loan Fund Program is a staple of the federal economic development access to capital delivery system. The program, established in 1975, is designed to provide grants to state and local governments, political subdivisions, and nonprofit organizations to operate a lending program that offers low-interest loans to businesses that cannot get traditional bank financing. Grant recipients are required to manage their RLF according to their RLF administrative plan, a document that describes the lending strategy and administrative procedures for a specific RLF project. The EDA has charged CDFA with developing an education program which will help to improve this crucial program.

CDFA has worked with the EDA to develop an innovative technical assistance approach to better support and improve the more than 500 EDA funded Revolving Loan Funds in the United States. The CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program will include a diverse set of offerings that will encourage learning, best practice collaborations, evaluations of service efficiencies and improvements, and a comprehensive resource collection and dissemination process.

Key program elements will include:

-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Training

CDFA held a two-day EDA Revolving Loan Fund Training in each of the six EDA Regions between 2018 and 2019. Presentations from each training can be found in the EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center under EDA Revolving Loan Fund Training Materials.

Access the EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center

-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Webinar Series

-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange

As part of the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, CDFA and EDA will be offering a Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange. CDFA and EDA will match lower performing loan funds with higher performing loan funds over the duration of the program in order to encourage discussions about best practices related to managing and operating EDA revolving loan funds. CDFA staff will lead conversations and pairings among EDA RLF grantees. Interactions will include online learning, phone calls, and gatherings at RLF training courses and the CDFA National Summit.

Pairs will be matched from different EDA regions. Each pair will need to identify five main goals to achieve during the exchange and submit a workplan to CDFA. Then structured conversations and in-person meetings will occur throughout the life of the program. CDFA will request regular follow-ups and provide monitoring. CDFA will facilitate in-person conversations to develop meaningful dialogue and to help pairs demonstrate progress in achieving their five goals.

Key exchange offerings will include:
  • Peers will create a workplan that includes five goals for the exchange. These goals will be designed by the peers themselves and monitored by CDFA over the course of the exchange. Peer matches will be required to submit a summary of their discussion on each goal by specified dates.

  • Question sets will be delivered by CDFA after each webinar to facilitate a peer discussion on the webinar topic.

  • Peers will gather at the CDFA National Development Finance Summit to discuss progress on their five determined goals during a facilitated one-day workshop. As part of this program, each person participating in the Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange will be given a complimentary registration to attend the entire CDFA National Development Finance Summit.
The CDFA EDA Revolving Loan Fund Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange is a unique offering that will require the dedication of several hours of time by mentors and mentees and CDFA expects that all EDA RLFs selected to participate in the exchange will continue to participate throughout the entirety of the two years. The Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange is open to any EDA RLF grantee, and CDFA encourages all staff members responsible for the EDA RLF to participate.

Organizations interested in participating in the Peer-to-Peer Learning Exchange should reach out to CDFA.

-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center

The EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center hosts a vast collection of EDA Revolving Loan Fund resources including presentations, best practices, case studies and archives of learning materials from webinars and training sessions.

Access the EDA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center

-EDA Revolving Loan Fund Best Practices Handbook

Throughout the CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program, several common characteristics emerged from high performing RLFs. The best practices outlined in this guide synthesize these exceptional traits and address the strategies employed by successful EDA RLFs of all sizes. Each recommendation includes a basic description and several resources for expanded learning. This RLF Best Practices Handbook serves as an overview of the best practices that EDA RLF recipients should consider to maximize their lending capacity, support local businesses, and enhance the economic development financing ecosystem in their community.

View the EDA RLF Best Practices Handbook

The CDFA EDA RLF Best Practices Program was prepared by the Council of Development Finance Agencies using Federal funds under award ED17HDQ3030053 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.