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WASHINGTON, Jan. 29, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) announced today that Amir Kirkwood will join the national network of CDFIs (community development finance institutions) as Chief Lending and Investment Officer (CLIO) on February 1, 2019. In this newly created position, Kirkwood, who brings more than 20 years of banking and economic development experience, will be responsible for the strategy, development, implementation, and risk management of OFN’s financial services.
“I am thrilled to welcome Amir to OFN’s leadership team,” said OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah. “This is a pivotal moment for our field, and Amir’s deep knowledge and experience, as well as his sincere appreciation for CDFIs and dedication to moving money into hard to reach communities, will help OFN grow resources for CDFIs. His knowledge of our industry, gained from years of serving as an investor in it, perfectly positions him to make the CDFI case with new investors and to expand our reach into new markets.”
Kirkwood comes to OFN from Amalgamated Bank, where he was First Vice President for Commercial Banking, covering community development finance and growth markets. In this role, he was a lead originator for mission focused lending to nonprofits, CDFIs, impact investment funds, and foundations, completing more than $100mm in approved transactions and originations. Also serving as Senior Advisor to the Amalgamated Foundation, he advised nonprofits, CDFIs, and investment funds on impact finance strategies.
Prior to Amalgamated Bank, Kirkwood served as a Partner at Next Street, playing various roles to support business development and client management. Earlier, he was a Director in Citigroup’s Municipal Securities Division, working as a relationship banker for Citi Community Capital. He managed origination with municipal agencies, CDFIs, intermediary lenders, community development corporations, and nonprofits. While at Citi, and in partnership with OFN and Calvert Impact Capital, Kirkwood helped create the Communities at Work Fund, LP, a national $200 million commitment to finance the general operating needs of CDFIs.
“What really excites me about joining OFN is the opportunity to attract new forms of capital to an industry that has proven itself over more than 30 years to be force in fighting poverty and helping underserved communities join the economic mainstream,” said Kirkwood. “At this critical juncture in the industry, we must look to the future and helping CDFIs build on CRA-motivated bank financing and government funding with new sources of capital. On a personal level, I’m also excited by the chance to apply the skills I've developed in finance and banking to growing an industry that I care very passionately about.”
Kirkwood is actively engaged in numerous volunteer activities that support community and economic development. He sits on several boards, including the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, Hot Bread Kitchen, and the Community Fund Board for Habitat for Humanity New York. He is also a member of the Advisory Board to for the Center for Community Development Finance at the Carsey Institute.
Kirkwood holds a B.A. in Political Science from Aurora University and completed the Program in Economic Policy Management from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs), strives to ensure low-income and other under-resourced communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services. Members of OFN are CDFIs that deliver responsible lending to help low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2017, OFN’s network originated $65 billion in financing in rural, urban, and Native communities. This financing has helped to create or maintain more than 1,348,300 jobs, start or expand more than 321,500 businesses and microenterprises, and support the development or rehabilitation of 2 million housing units and more than 11,000 community facility projects.
For more information, visit www.ofn.org.