MoFi CEO to discuss the value of Community Development Financial Institutes

David Glaser

David Glaser is president and CEO of MoFi, a Montana-based not-for-profit financial institution that provides access to credit and financial services for low-income communities. He will be the Babson Center’s Humphreys Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the Advent Semester.

Glaser will deliver a public lecture titled “Money Matters: How Access to Capital Builds a Stronger, More Inclusive America.” The lecture will take place in the Torian Room of duPont Library at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, and is open to the public.

MoFi operates across the Northern Rocky Mountain region and manages a portfolio of just under $500 million in loans, including everything from mortgages for low-income first-time home buyers to multi-million dollar financing for new manufacturing facilities that bring needed jobs to poor communities.

Glaser says the ultimate goal of MoFi is straightforward: rebuilding the middle class in the region. MoFi supports its clients with lending, entrepreneurial training, business consulting, financial education, and a grant program that helps creditworthy home buyers with funds for down payments.

MoFi is in a class of financial institutions known as Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) that may take the form of anything from a credit union to a venture capital fund. CDFIs are certified by the Federal Treasury Department and are eligible for a variety of grants. In addition to federal support, CDFIs work with banks, donors, and investors.

Even though low-income and economically disadvantaged borrowers are the target market, MoFi enjoys a default rate that would be the envy of many for-profit institutions. The current three-year rolling loan loss rate is 1 percent. Even in 2008, in the depths of the financial crisis, the default rate hit only 3.5 percent.

Glaser found his way into financial services after starting his professional career as an environmental scientist, where he was increasingly drawn into focusing on the business aspects of managing research and consulting projects. Glaser joined MoFi in 2007 and became president and CEO in 2010.

CDFIs are not universally loved: in both the Obama and Trump Administrations, they were targeted for defunding, but bipartisan Congressional support has kept funding intact because of the impact on local communities and the way CDFIs place financial resources into local hands.

During his campus visit, Glaser will meet with students, teach classes, and attend a board meeting of a new local not-for-profit lender, Coalmont-based BetterFi. Glaser’s visit is cosponsored by the Babson Center for Global Commerce, the Department of Economics, and the University’s Office of Civic Engagement.

The Humphreys Entrepreneur-in-Residence program is made possible by a gift from Debra and David Humphreys, C’79.