Frequently Asked Questions
- How are loan decisions made?
A rigorous loan review process is a major reason for our success. WACIF puts capital to use while remaining accountable to our investors. After submitting an application, potential borrowers meet with the Executive Director and Loan Officer. After an extensive underwriting or review of each loan request, a credit memo is prepared for each loan. The loan is then submitted to our Loan Committee, consisting of Board Members, industry professionals and volunteers, which reviews, and evaluates the loan request based on the capacity of the borrower. This monitoring process is ongoing, both by staff and the Loan Committee. It does not end until the loan is repaid.
- Has any WACIF investor ever lost any money?
No! The fund has been in operation since 1988 (incorporated in 1987) and there have been no investor losses.
- What if I invest $5,000 for three years and after 12 months need some or all of the money returned for personal reasons?
WACIF would work with you to return your investment. We manage our loans and investments to ensure that we can meet our obligations to investors at all times through our liquidity reserve. Unusual circumstances will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Unlike other financial institutions, we do not charge penalties.
- Describe WACIF's investors.
Currently, WACIF has more than 50 socially responsible institutional and individual investors. The average individual investment is $10,300. The average institutional investment is $250,000.
- When would I receive interest payments?
Most investor accounts are set up to receive interest annually. Many investors choose to roll accrued interest into principal on an annual basis or contribute the earned interest income to WACIF to further support the operations. We can also structure payments to meet the investor's needs.
- What is the minimum term of investment?
Commitments made to WACIF by our investors range from 12 months to 10 years. Longer terms allow WACIF to use the funds in more than one project, resulting in a greater social impact from the investment.
- What is the interest rate on my investment?
WACIF pays 0% to 5% interest to its investors. Currently, the average rate in our portfolio of investments is just under 3%. WACIF's ideal interest rate is 1.5%.
- Is the interest paid to the investor taxable?
Yes. Each year you are paid interest, you will receive a 1099 statement from WACIF. Interest earnings must be reported to the IRS.
- What is the minimum investment amount?
We encourage a minimum investment of $1,000. Currently, our investments range from $550 to $700,000.
- Are the low interest earnings tax-deductible?
No. The IRS does not allow a low interest deduction.
- Where is WACIF located?
WACIF’s main offices are located at 2012 Rhode Island Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20018. The nearest metro station is Rhode Island Ave on the Red Line.
- What type of businesses does WACIF help?
WACIF helps all types of organizations, for-profit and non-profit. In the past, we have provided technical and financial assistance to organizations and businesses ranging from restaurants, housing developers, cleaning companies, childcare centers, community development corporations, retail stores, health centers, coffee shops and everything in between.
- What credit score do I need to qualify?
WACIF does not have a minimum credit score. We look at each applicant on an individual basis. The most important aspect of a credit application is the ability to repay WACIF.
- How long can I expect it to take to receive funding from WACIF?
If all paperwork and documents are presented to WACIF in a timely fashion, WACIF can usually provide a business or organization with financing within six to eight weeks.
- I live outside of DC, can WACIF help me?
WACIF serves the District of Columbia, Prince Georges and Montgomery Counties in Maryland, as well as Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Loudon and Arlington Counties and the city of Alexandria.
- How much funding can my business receive from WACIF?
WACIF manages a number of loan programs ranging from micro-loan funds for start-up or operating capital to large contracts for the renovation of affordable housing units. Based on your businesses need, particular situation and WACIF’s availability of funds. This changes frequently, so it is best to inquire with WACIF to determine current lending capacity.
- What is a DUNS number?
Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) is a company that provides business information for credit, marketing, and purchasing decisions. Its “data universal numbering system,” known as DUNS, issues unique 9-digit numbers that are used by businesses and the federal government to keep track of more than 70 million businesses world-wide.
- What is a CBE (Certified Business Enterprise)?
The District of Columbia directs spending to CBE’s (Certified Business Enterprises) that support job creation and investment in local businesses to strengthen our community. DC businesses can become a certified CBE thru the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD).
- What is a SBA 8(a) certification and how do I receive it?
SBA (Small Business Administration) 8(a) certification is a business development program to help small disadvantaged businesses compete for access to the federal procurement market. By contacting your local SBA office you may become a certified 8(a) business.
- What is WACIF?
WACIF is a non-profit regional CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) that provides the DC Metropolitan area with low cost financing and technical assistance.