Kareem Thomas and Christina Szczepanski
For Immediate Release: August 29, 2023
Reinvestment Fund, a nationally recognized Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) based in Philadelphia, PA, and with offices in Baltimore, MD, and Atlanta, GA, has appointed Christina Szczepanski, CFA, as President – Lending and Investing, and Kareem E. Thomas as Chief Credit Officer. Szczepanski and Thomas will join Reinvestment Fund’s senior leadership team and contribute to the organization’s strategic direction.
Committed to removing barriers to accessing capital for developers and borrowers of color, in 2021, Szczepanski and Thomas led the overhaul of Reinvestment Fund’s lending policies and risk ratings. They implemented changes in outreach, capacity building, and new product development. These new policies and strategic changes provide greater flexibility for Reinvestment Fund to support borrowers of color better. As a result of updating our credit and lending guidelines, we deployed 47% of our loan originations ($117.8 million)—representing 50% of closed loans—to BIPOC-owned or led organizations in 2022.
Christina Szczepanski has been a part of the Lending and Investing business since joining Reinvestment Fund in 2008. She will lead local and national strategies for the Lending and Investment Division of Reinvestment Fund in this new role. Her team develops lending products and provides technical support while ensuring a more economically just approach toward issuing capital to those looking to deliver place-based solutions through community development. Szczepanski spearheaded Reinvestment Fund’s presence in the Southeast, which the Center for American Progress cites as having the highest concentration of poverty. Our Southeast presence has led to tremendous regional organizational growth, representing nearly half of all new loan originations. “I am excited to serve and lead an amazing team of people into the future of Reinvestment Fund,” said Szczepanski. “Together, we will ensure meaningful growth in areas that promote quality of life, and to do so, we must create lasting impact through systemic change.”
Thomas, who joined Reinvestment Fund in 2021, will be responsible for organizational credit risk, asset management, and lending operations. Additionally, he has direct accountability for the performance and outcomes of Reinvestment Fund’s annual AERIS, S&P, and external audit activities and the overall performance of Reinvestment Fund’s $700MM+ loan portfolio. “Growing up in North Central Philadelphia, I saw first-hand what happens when disinvestment in communities occurs, particularly communities of color,” said Thomas. “I am incredibly honored to be named Chief Credit Officer at Reinvestment Fund because we reverse barriers that stem from inequitable access to funding –making our capital more accessible to newer borrowers and those not benefiting from inter-generational wealth— is a personal commitment for me as much as it is for the organization.”
“We cultivate opportunities where leaders thrive, adhering to our evolving race, equity and inclusion commitments,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “We’re shaping a diverse body of decision-makers who share lived experiences with communities we look to advance the most; these promotions result from well-managed succession planning, in addition to their celebrated track record of leading a highly functioning Lending division.”
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About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, consistently earning us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an A+ rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.
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