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CDFI Industry Gets First-Ever Call Reporting System

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PHILADELPHIA, PA, PA., April 15, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CARS Inc. announced today the availability of a call reporting system for community development financial institutions (CDFIs1) to share quarterly performance data with their investors, representing a breakthrough for the industry. Previously, investors lacked the quarterly, standardized financial and impact data they need to understand individual CDFI and industry performance. The Citi Foundation is the lead philanthropic funder behind the development of the call reporting system, having provided more than $1.5 million in grant funding.

CARS Inc., the information service for community investing, also announced that two pioneering investors in CDFIs—Calvert Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation—are leading the way to drive standardized reporting into the industry by becoming the first to use the CARS data service to monitor their CDFI investments.

The system will streamline investors' portfolio management, while alleviating the need for CDFIs to report financial performance in a variety of formats to many investors. Now CDFIs can report into one centralized database, similar to the call report system used by regulated depository institutions. It will also give new investor entrants, such as investment advisors, access to the type of Wall Street-quality data to which they are accustomed.

"CARS Inc. applauds the vision of both the investors and CDFIs that have opted-in to this system," said Paige Chapel, President & CEO of CARS Inc. "We believe this tool will help push CDFIs closer to becoming mainstream investment opportunities, in turn increasing positive financing options for underserved communities."

"Given the significant challenges facing underserved communities in the U.S. and the success CDFIs have had in deploying capital to support these communities, it is critical that the field identify new investor segments to infuse the sector with incremental capital," said Kristen Scheyder, Senior Program Officer at the Citi Foundation. "This initiative goes a long way to bringing greater transparency and standardization, making it easier for investors to understand, analyze, and invest in CDFIs. We are pleased to see the success of this project and expect its impact to be magnified as more investors join these early-adopters."

"After nearly twenty years of leadership in investing in CDFIs for social and financial returns, Calvert Foundation is a firm believer in the value of this tool for sharing CDFI impact and performance data with current and potential investors," said Catherine Godschalk, VP of Investments at Calvert Foundation. "CARS's one stop shop has already increased efficiencies for our CDFI partners by streamlining reporting requirements so they can focus on what they do best: creating positive impact in communities."

CARS Inc. expects to launch Version 2.0 of the system in late Q2 2014, which will include new features, such as a real-time peer analytics tool. In addition to the Citi Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation have provided funding for the additional development. Visit www.carsratingsystem.net for more information.

1 CDFIs are mission-driven financial institutions that make loans and investments to create economic opportunities in underserved markets of the U.S.

About CARS Inc.

CARS Inc. is an information service for community investors, who invest to create economic opportunities in underserved markets. CARS Inc. provides data, analysis, and advisory services to support underwriting and monitoring of community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Its proprietary CDFI assessment tool (CARS®, the CDFI Assessment and Ratings System) helps investors evaluate opportunities that meet their impact goals and risk parameters. More than 50 of the nation's leading community investors—from AARP Foundation to Wells Fargo—currently subscribe to the CARS® Rating service.

About the Citi Foundation

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, Citi's business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit www.citifoundation.com.

About Calvert Foundation

Calvert Foundation enables people to invest for social good. Through its flagship Community Investment Note, Calvert Foundation has raised $1 billion in investment from more than 13,000 investors to invest in hundreds of nonprofits and social enterprises worldwide. Investor dollars empower women, fund the construction of affordable housing, provide loans to small business owners, increase access to healthcare, and support fair trade and sustainable agriculture.

About the Annie E. Casey Foundation

The Annie E. Casey Foundation creates a brighter future for the nation's children by developing solutions to strengthen families, build paths to economic opportunity and transform struggling communities into safer and healthier places to live, work and grow. For more information, visit www.aecf.org.

CONTACT: Matt Royles CARS Inc. mroyles@carsratingsystem.net 267.233.5155

Source: Cars Rating