CNote has created a new way to save, where you earn up to 40x more on your money while spurring economic growth in underserved communities by investing in female and minority entrepreneurs, housing, and other community development projects. CNote pays 2.5% and has no minimums, fees, or earning caps. With CNote anyone can be an impact investor, driving more dollars to financially underserved communities across the country. CNote was founded on the premise that financial products should not just serve a wealthy few, and that financial prosperity doesn’t have to be a zero sum game; you can make money and do good at the same time. CNote’s flagship product has made history as the first high-yield low risk impact product to be qualified by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) for mass market. CNote won the Fintech category at SXSW in March of 2017 and in December was selected by CB Insights as one of the "most ground-breaking early-stage startups." CNote generates the 2.5% return by investing in a diversified portfolio of community lenders called Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Every dollar helps fund female and minority entrepreneurs, build low income housing, and finance other community development projects across the United States. CDFIs are a little known but highly successful, and low risk, investment vehicle that have been around for more than 30 years. CDFIs are backed and certified by the U.S. Treasury Department. When conducting a retrospective on CDFI performance, the Brookings Institute noted “CDFIs have succeeded by all obvious measures.”. CNote is the first company that offers a high yield savings alternative product opening access to CDFIs to all.
Nominated for: Investing in Millennials
CNote addresses two financial industry pain points, while working to prove that you can earn more and do good at the same time. CNote is innovating in a large, yet often overlooked space: savings and cash alternatives. Traditional savings accounts offer a 0.06% yield on average. High-yield accounts often attach earning limits or minimum balances to their 1.5% return. Finally, CDs require a five-year lockup to earn a ~2.40% APY on your money. CNote offers a 2.5% APY with quarterly liquidity. Allowing users the return of a CD while more closely matching the flexibility of a traditional savings account. Second, all money invested in CNote is deployed with community lenders that are focused on increasing capital access for financially-underserved communities. This means CNote dollars are invested in female and minority entrepreneurs, help build low income housing and spur other community development projects. With CNote, anyone can become an impact investor for as little as $5. In working to solve these two problems: creating a simple and great savings product, while increasing capital access and building a more equal financial world, CNote is proving that you can do good and do well. In 2017 alone, CNote deployed millions of dollars with community lenders. That money created or maintained more than 800 jobs in financially underserved communities across America. Despite only launching to all investors in September of 2017, CNote provided more than $1.2M in funding for minority-led businesses and more than $1.1M for women owned-businesses. As CNote continues to scale we believe we can become one of the largest sources of capital for communities that traditionally banks tend to avoid.