Major Development in NMTC Investments: Transforming Communities in the Southwest

In October 2023, CPLC Prestamos CDFI marked a significant achievement by receiving $65 million in New Markets Tax Credit for investment in low-income communities. It stands as a major milestone for Prestamos, being one of the largest awards in its history and representing the maximum amount granted in that year. Prestamos CDFI continues its commitment to driving community development through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) with three impactful projects:

West Las Vegas Library

The construction of the West Las Vegas Library, spanning 40,000 square feet and supported by an $8 million Prestamos NMTC allocation, is addressing poverty, unemployment, and educational needs. Expected to benefit over 22,500 individuals annually, especially low-income and minority persons, the project will create 40 permanent jobs and 195 temporary construction positions. Partners Clearinghouse CDFI, Accion Opportunity Fund, and Chase Community Equity have contributed a total of $20.5 million in NMTC allocation.

Sola Model/Z Modular Home Manufacturing Facility

Prestamos CDFI provided a $13 million NMTC allocation for a modular affordable housing project in Los Angeles. This investment is projected to deliver over 1,500 housing units initially and nearly 10,000 annually by 2029, addressing the city’s urgent need for affordable housing. The project will create 312 permanent quality jobs (75% accessible to persons with barriers to employment). Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles welcomes this investment amidst the employment and housing crises in the area. With $6 million in funding support from Grow America, the project aligns with the city’s goal of creating 5,700 affordable units yearly, benefiting 10,000 low-income residents annually.

College of the Desert Indio Education Building

Lastly, in Indio, California, Prestamos CDFI is part of a $70 million collaborative effort to construct a state-of-the-art educational facility at the College of the Desert’s campus. Supported by an $11 million NMTC allocation, this project aims to serve 10,000 students annually while creating 80 permanent jobs and 618 construction opportunities. Targeting a community grappling with high poverty and unemployment rates, the project, backed by $60 million secured from various partners, will enhance educational access, and foster economic prosperity in the region.

To learn more about these investments in detail and explore all projects funded by New Market Tax Credit, please visit:

State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) Programs

Prestamos CDFI is proud to partner with states across the U.S. to help ease the path for business owners to access affordable capital.
Funds are targeted to Arizona small businesses or nonprofits. Must use loan proceeds for eligible business purposes.

Learn more about our funding options

Smooth Sailing: Simplifying Small Business Finances with Expert Bookkeeping

Owning a small business is an exciting journey, but let’s face it – navigating the financial waters can be tricky. One key aspect often overlooked is bookkeeping. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back. Steering clear of common bookkeeping pitfalls isn’t just about saving headaches; it’s about securing a financially sound future for your business. Take a look at some straightforward tips to keep your ship sailing smoothly:

1. Recording Every Transaction:

In the world of small business, every transaction matters, big or small. Make sure you’re not missing any by recording them diligently. This not only keeps your books accurate but also sets the stage for robust financial management.

2. Keeping Personal and Business Finances Separate:

Mixing personal and business finances is a no-go. It’s like putting a puzzle together blindfolded. Keep it simple – treat your business as its own entity with a distinct financial identity. It avoids confusion, ensures clear expense tracking, and keeps potential tax issues at bay.

3. Regular Reconciliation:

Ensure you reconcile your bank and credit card statements with your business books. Regular reconciliations not only maintain accuracy but also gives you a guide to better financial decision-making.

4. Accurate Expense Categorization:

Properly categorizing expenses isn’t just for neatness – it’s a key to understanding your business’s financial health. Misclassifying expenses is like wearing mismatched socks; it might not seem like a big deal, but it makes financial analysis a daunting task.

5. Not Missing Petty Cash:

Even the smallest transactions matter. Neglecting petty cash transactions can send ripples through your finances, making it challenging to manage expenses. Keep a sharp eye on these seemingly insignificant outflows to maintain control over your financial reins.

Answers to Your Burning Bookkeeping Questions:

  • How do I categorize my expenses?
  • Create a list of accounts for each aspect of your business, like employee salary, rent expenses, health insurance, and office equipment.
  • What is the best accounting software for my business?
  • Explore options like Wave, Zoho, QuickBooks, and Xero to streamline your bookkeeping. Remember, pricing may vary, so choose what aligns with your business needs.
  • What receipts do I need to keep for tax purposes?
  • Hold onto all business transactions with supporting documents, including purchases, fixed assets, goods, and services.
  • How do I handle invoicing and accounts receivable?
  • Implement an invoicing system, set deadlines, send statements regularly, and ensure timely payments.
  • What are deductible business expenses?
  • Always refer to for guidance, but in general, ordinary and necessary expenses incurred in conducting your business are deductible.

As the year-end approaches, keep things simple:

  • Keep financial documents, receipts, and invoices organized in a filing system.
  • Maintain a clear separation between personal and business finances.
  • Use accounting software or spreadsheets that can help with expense tracking and reconcile regularly.

By avoiding these simple bookkeeping pitfalls, you’re not just ensuring financial stability; you’re setting your small business on the path to long-term success. Ready to sail smoothly into efficient bookkeeping?

Sign up for Bookkeeping support today! 

Understanding the Importance of Business Taxes When Requesting Capital

Lenders typically assess a company’s financial health and stability before approving a loan, and tax-related information provides valuable insights into the financial standing of the business. Here are some ways in which business taxes are important in the loan application process:

1. Income Verification/Cash Flow Analysis: Tax returns help to verify the income of the business and to analyze the Cash Flow of the business. This helps them assess the ability of the business to generate consistent revenue, which is crucial for loan repayment.

2. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Business tax returns provide information about the company’s debt obligations. Lenders use this information to calculate the debt-to-income ratio, which is an important factor in determining the business’s capacity to take on additional debt.

3. Risk Assessment: Business taxes can reveal the financial risks associated with the business. Lenders assess the consistency of income, potential tax liabilities, and any outstanding tax issues that may affect the financial stability of the business.

4. Legal and Regulatory Compliance: Lenders want to ensure that the business is in compliance with tax laws and regulations. Non-compliance can signal financial instability and may impact the approval of a loan. Let me also add that most lenders will need a filed Tax Return instead of an Extension.

5. Documentation for Small Businesses: For small businesses, especially those without extensive financial statements, tax returns serve as crucial financial documentation. They provide a comprehensive overview of the business’s financial performance.


In summary, business taxes are essential for lenders to assess the financial health, creditworthiness, and risk associated with a business. Providing accurate and up-to-date tax information can enhance the chances of loan approval and influence the terms and conditions of the loan.

CPLC Prestamos CDFI Receives 6th Award from the U.S. Department of Treasury

Prestamos is proud to announce the award of $65 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund.

This year’s award is the single largest granted in Prestamos’ history and represents the highest amount awarded in 2023 among top recipients across the country. Prestamos has received a cumulative total of $170 million through five previous NMTC awards. This award is a testament to the longstanding impact of our mission and commitment to alleviate issues of inequality in low-income communities.

The NMTC Program attracts private capital into low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax in exchange for making investments on qualified projects within economically distressed communities. This award is part of a $5 billion NMTC allocation authority package announced by the CDFI Fund. Federal data shows that for every dollar of allocation provided under the NMTC program, an additional $8 of private investment is leveraged for the economic development and growth of these underserved groups.

AI for Small Businesses 

Leveraging Opportunities and Overcoming Challenges

Small businesses play a vital role in driving employment and economic growth but often face challenges and uncertainties. Small businesses can turn to Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a solution to navigate some of these difficulties and foster continuous development. AI encompassing technologies such as machine learning, natural language processing, and deep learning, offers a range of benefits for small businesses.

Opportunities for AI-Enabled Sustainable Development

The deployment of AI technology can alleviate the plights of small businesses by optimizing operations, improving performance, and enhancing customer experiences. For example, AI-powered chatbots and automation tools enable small businesses to deliver prompt and seamless customer service, reducing costs and improving customer satisfaction. Additionally, AI can facilitate more personalized marketing campaigns by analyzing customer data and tailoring messages to individual preferences. Such AI-enabled strategies enhance customer engagement, drive growth, and contribute to the sustainable development of small businesses.

Overcoming Challenges in AI Transformation

While AI presents promising opportunities, small businesses may encounter challenges moving to a more AI-based process. These challenges include selecting suitable AI use cases, integrating AI technology with existing systems, and addressing talent and organizational issues. However, with proper planning, guidance, and collaboration with stakeholders, small businesses can overcome these challenges and fully harness the potential of AI to drive success and innovation.

Benefits of Implementing AI for Small Businesses

Man using AI for small business with blue electronic iconography surrounding him

Artificial Intelligence can revolutionize operations, enhance efficiency, and unlock new growth opportunities. In this article, we will explore the advantages that small businesses can gain from integrating AI technology into their processes.

The benefits of implementing AI for small businesses are numerous. From streamlining analysis and decision-making to enhancing customer care, augmenting marketing efforts, improving operational efficiency, and providing personalized customer recommendations, AI offers small businesses a competitive edge in today’s digital landscape. Embracing AI technology can increase productivity and cost savings and improve customer satisfaction. By harnessing the power of AI, small businesses can unlock new opportunities for growth and success.

AI is not a magic solution but a powerful tool that can transform how small businesses operate and thrive in the ever-evolving business landscape when utilized strategically and ethically.

Streamlining Routine Tasks with AI

AI technology can handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks that would otherwise require significant human effort. By leveraging AI-powered automation tools, small businesses can free up valuable time and resources to focus on critical aspects of their operations. Tasks such as data entry, inventory management, and customer support can be automated, increasing efficiency and reducing the likelihood of errors.

AI in Data Analysis and Decision-Making

Small businesses can utilize AI algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data, extract valuable insights, and make data-driven decisions. AI can identify patterns, trends, and correlations within data sets, enabling businesses to optimize their strategies and make informed choices. Small businesses can save time, improve accuracy, and gain a competitive advantage by automating data analysis.


AI robot helping with customer service

AI-Powered Customer Support

AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants are transforming customer support in small businesses. These intelligent systems can handle customer inquiries, respond instantly, and offer personalized assistance. Small businesses can enhance customer satisfaction, reduce response times, and cut operational costs by automating customer support processes.

Enhancing Operational Efficiency with AI

AI technology can significantly improve operational efficiency by streamlining workflows, optimizing resource allocation, and reducing human error. Small businesses can allocate their workforce to more complex and strategic activities by automating routine tasks, driving innovation and growth.

Workflow Optimization

AI can optimize workflows by automating repetitive tasks, ensuring consistency and accuracy. From data processing to document management, AI-powered systems can handle these tasks more efficiently and reliably than humans, allowing employees to focus on higher-value activities. This increased efficiency can lead to improved productivity and overall operational effectiveness.

Predictive Analytics and Forecasting

AI algorithms can analyze historical data and make predictions, enabling small businesses to anticipate market trends, customer behavior, and demand patterns. Companies can optimize their inventory management, production planning, and supply chain operations by leveraging predictive analytics. This proactive approach helps minimize waste, maximize resource allocation, and improve customer satisfaction.

AI presents tremendous opportunities for small businesses to automate routine tasks and improve operational efficiency. Whether automating data analysis, deploying AI-powered chatbots for customer support, or leveraging predictive analytics for forecasting, AI offers tangible benefits that can drive growth, increase productivity, and boost customer satisfaction.

Ways Small Businesses Can Use AI for Personalized Marketing Campaigns

Artificial Intelligence offers small businesses powerful tools to understand customer preferences, deliver targeted messages, and enhance marketing effectiveness.

Building an AI-Powered Website

An AI-powered website builder can simplify creating a professional website for small businesses. Platforms like Wix utilize AI algorithms to generate websites based on user prompts. These tools enable beginners to create visually appealing and user-friendly websites in minutes. With AI content writers embedded in the software, small businesses can efficiently create compelling website content that engages visitors.

Optimizing Website User Experience with AI

AI can enhance a small business website’s user experience (UX). Through AI software, businesses can gather valuable data on customer behavior, including click patterns, time spent on pages, and geographic information. This data enables companies to identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions to optimize their website’s UX. AI-powered features, such as auto-generated captions and personalized search functions, can further enhance the user experience and cater to specific user needs.

Personalizing Email Marketing with AI

AI-powered email tools offer precise insights into customer behavior and enable businesses to deliver personalized email campaigns. Tools like utilize AI algorithms to analyze customer data and make informed email content and timing decisions. By leveraging AI, small businesses can send targeted and relevant emails to individual customers, increasing engagement and conversion rates. AI-powered email tools also enable small business owners to automate routine tasks such as order confirmations and support ticket follow-ups, saving time and ensuring consistent communication.

Leveraging AI for Customer Segmentation

AI enables small businesses to collect and analyze customer data, such as behavior, preferences, and demographics, to create personalized marketing campaigns. By utilizing powerful AI tools, businesses can segment their customer base and tailor marketing messages that resonate with individual customers. This customized approach increases the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, as customers feel valued and understood. Similar to how streaming TV services recommend personalized content based on user viewing history, AI algorithms can help small businesses deliver personalized marketing messages to their target audience.

Transforming Customer Service with AI Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots are a game-changer for small businesses seeking prompt, seamless customer service. Chatbots can mimic human-like conversations and perform routine tasks, reducing wait times and cutting staffing costs. They continuously learn from customer interactions, improving their accuracy and effectiveness. Platforms like ChatGPT offer customizable chatbot experiences through natural language processing, ensuring personalized attention for customers and enhancing overall satisfaction.

Automation for Streamlined Customer Service

AI automation enables small businesses to automate routine customer service tasks, such as sending order confirmations and following up on support tickets. By utilizing automation tools integrated with customer relationship management (CRM) software, businesses can save time and resources while ensuring consistent and timely communication. Automation streamlines workflows, allowing employees to focus on more complex customer inquiries and providing a more efficient customer service experience.

Personalized Marketing Campaigns through AI

Small businesses can harness the power of AI to create personalized marketing campaigns that resonate with customers as individuals. AI enables enterprises to collect and analyze customer data, including behavior, preferences, and demographics, to tailor marketing messages accordingly. Just like streaming TV services use AI algorithms to offer personalized content recommendations, small businesses can leverage AI to deliver targeted marketing messages that cater to each customer’s unique needs. By utilizing AI tools for customer segmentation and targeting, businesses can enhance the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Delivering Proactive and Personalized Service

AI empowers small businesses to deliver proactive and personalized customer service experiences. Through AI technologies, businesses can gather real-time data on customer interactions, enabling them to understand customer needs and preferences better. AI-enabled customer service can offer proactive support, anticipating customer needs and providing timely assistance even before customers realize they require it. By leveraging AI, small businesses can increase customer engagement, drive cross-sell and upsell opportunities, and reduce cost-to-serve.

Leveraging AI for Small Business Success

In conclusion, the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents small businesses with a transformative opportunity to optimize operations, enhance customer experiences, and drive sustainable development. By embracing AI-powered solutions, small businesses can revolutionize customer service by implementing AI chatbots and automation tools, leading to prompt and seamless customer support. Moreover, AI enables personalized marketing campaigns by leveraging customer data, allowing small businesses to tailor their messages and increase customer engagement.

While embracing AI offers numerous advantages, small businesses may face challenges during the AI transformation process. These challenges include selecting the most suitable AI use cases, integrating AI technology with existing systems, and addressing talent and organizational governance issues. However, with proper planning, guidance, and collaboration with stakeholders, small businesses can overcome these challenges and unlock the full potential of AI to drive success, innovation, and growth.

By harnessing AI technology, small businesses can revolutionize their operations, enhance customer satisfaction, and position themselves for long-term success in today’s increasingly competitive business landscape. The strategic adoption of AI-enabled solutions empowers small businesses to adapt, thrive, and deliver personalized services that meet the evolving needs of their customers. Embracing AI is not just an option; it is a crucial step in leveraging the power of technology to optimize processes, drive growth, and ensure a prosperous future for small businesses.

Small Business Alternative Lending and CDFI Lending

What makes a lender an “Alternative Lender”? This is certainly a question for Small Business owners seeking to apply for capital whether they are an existing business or a start-up, and have faced challenges through normal retail lending channels.

Alternative Lenders for the most part are for-profit lenders that are not FDIC insured like traditional banks. They are often not regulated for the same borrower protections that banks typically would have. The organizations will usually specialize in a few loan products for small businesses with faster application and decision times.

However, borrowers should be alert to potential downsides to these loans such as higher interest rates, and well as more aggressive repayment schedules, with greater penalties that regulated bank lending.

What makes a CDFI Lender? CDFIs are mission-driven financial institutions that have been certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s CDFI Fund. They include Credit Unions, Banks, Non-Profit loan funds and venture capital funds that operated to serve low-income communities.

The “Community” piece of these loans means you’ll first need to meet the CDFI’s definition of the local community they serve. Borrowers will also need to meet other key requirements for a CDFI loan – such as completing the application, providing financial statements and documenting how the funds will be used. CDFIs often offer other benefits like a local office, educational workshops and on-the-ground support – and some CDFIs also participate in SBA guaranteed lending programs. Many borrowers appreciate the benefits of a CDFI’s strong sense of community and networking with other small business professionals through community events.

When seeking capital evaluate the pros and cons for your business as business needs will differ from one another. Understanding your short-term and long-term needs is also crucial when applying for capital. A short-term need might mean that your business can take on a higher interest cost, but a long-term need might mean that your business looks at a lower monthly payment with lower interest rates.

Prestamos CDFI is here to help answer your questions whether it is lending-related or business consulting related. We have been serving our communities for over 50 years!

Written by Mark McKenna

Plan Out Your Small Business Saturday

Small businesses are the backbone of their communities. They significantly contribute to the economy and provide jobs. To help highlight and support these contributions Saturday, November 26, 2022, is known as Small Business Saturday and is a celebration in support of small businesses and all they do for their communities.

Here are a few things you can do as a small business to prepare for a successful Small Business Saturday:

  • Host an event: Celebrate the day by hosting a small event that brings new and loyal customers to your location. Whether it’s an open house, a coffee tasting, an exclusive sale, or whatever can highlight your products and services – hosting an event can attract positive attention.
  • Create a promotion or special sale: Whether it a discount, BOGO, or a special membership – make sure you create an offer that is exclusive to that day to help generate sales and bring in customers.
  • Partner with other local businesses: Bring in products or set up a pop-up shop for another partner small business. This can help bring in their loyal customers to your location and create exposure for you and another business. You can also create a special promotion or offering with a partner business. Example: Get 20% off gym apparel at Fit Threads with proof of new membership at FitFlex Gym.
  • Advertise: Whether you go the traditional route or run a full-scale digital campaign; make sure you advertise your products, services, promotions, and events for Small Business Saturday. This can help introduce people early on to what products you will be selling and who they can support on this day. Make sure you use hashtags relevant to Small Business Saturday to help potential customers find you.
  • Update Your Information: Make sure all your information is current. If you have a website make sure it is up to date, along with your address, phone number, and hours across all your platforms. This is crucial in order for people to find you and be able to visit your location.

Making a plan and strategy for Small Business Saturday will help make the day and possibly the whole weekend a success.

People love to support and shop local, you just have to make sure you are participating in days like Small Business Saturday and that you are prepared ahead of time.

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) And Your Business

It is never too early for businesses and individuals to start thinking and planning for their taxes. With so many efforts around business pandemic-related resources and assistance programs through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – many business owners can come out feeling confused and overwhelmed with deadlines and next steps.

One of those assistance programs that has reached its sunset is the Employee Retention Credit (ERC). The ERC is a refundable credit that businesses can claim on qualified wages, including certain health insurance costs, paid to employees. The ERC was available only to eligible small business owners who met the following criteria:

Based by the number of Full Time Employees in 2019

  • 2020: Under 100 Full-Time Employees
  • 2021: Under 500 Full-Time Employees

While the qualifications were determined based off of two ways:

  • Business Operations were stopped/reduced due to a government mandate


  • Gross sales were reduced:
  • In 2020 gross sales reduced by 50% vs 2019
  • In 2021 gross sales reduced by 20% vs 2019
  • The analysis is done on a quarterly basis

While businesses can no longer pay wages to claim the Employee Retention Tax Credit, you have until 2024 to do a look back on your payroll during the qualifying time frame and retroactively claim the credit by filing an amended tax return.

Here are a few things to take into consideration:

  • If you received the PPP loans you may be eligible to receive the ERC but you cannot double-dip. Any PPP funds towards payroll, will not qualify as eligible for Employee Retention Credit purposes.
  • If you received the EIDL Loan you may qualify for the ERC.
  • The difference between the PPP Loan, EIDL Loans and Employee Retention Credit is that the ERC does not have to be forgiven or paid back. There are no restrictions on how you spend your money.
  • Employees must be W2 – 1099 contractors do not qualify as employees.
  • If your business gets the credit, this is how it will impact your business and personal tax returns:
    • If you already filed your 2020 and 2021 tax returns – you WILL need to amend
    • If you have not filed your returns, you WON’T have to amend as long as you factor in the credit info
  • Below are the expiration dates for the credits:
    • For 2020: The credit does not close until 04/15/2024
    • For 2021: The credit does not close until 04/15/2025
  • A Full Time Employee is defined as someone who works 32 hrs a week or 130 hours per month.

If you have any questions on the ERC and if you qualify, reach out to Josue Castro –, from our Prestamos team.

We would like to thank Aldo Aprile, CPA for his contributions to this article.

Do you know how many businesses fail due to poor Cash Flow management?

According to a study from the U.S. Bank, 82% of businesses that fail are due to a lack of understanding of the impact of cash flow on their business or due to poor management of it. This gives us an idea of the importance for every entrepreneur to know more about this topic.

Let’s start defining what cash flow means, and in simple terms we could say that CASH FLOW is the movement of cash into or out of an account in a certain period of time, it can be a personal account, a business account or an investment account.

Cash Flow works in a similar way for both, a company and an individual. For a person or company to have a financially healthy cash flow, it is generally achieved when the cash inflow is greater than the cash outflow.

There 3 types of cash flows


Its cash received (input), or spent (output) as a result of a company’s business activity.

For instance, a company obtains cash by selling its products or services, that cash goes into the bank account and is used to pay for business expenses, such as employee salaries, purchase of merchandise, advertisements, equipment, etc.


Its cash received or spent through investing activities.

This is basically the purchasing or selling of assets, which will allow the company to grow.


Its cash received through sale of shares and/or debt (loans), or cash spent as payment of debt or purchase of shares.

Financing activities include the issuance and payment of shares, the payment of dividends, the issuance and payment of debt, and capital lease obligations.

Why is it so important to know how to correctly manage my cash flow?

If a company or person runs short of money and is unable to pay their obligations, they could experience a cash flow crunch, and if the cash flow crunch continues … this could lead to bankruptcy. For this reason, it is very important that business and individuals manage their cash flow carefully.

TIP: We as business owners must make sure we have enough cash on hand to ensure we can pay on time to our employees, suppliers, creditors and ourselves, this is critical to keeping a business running.

Are you interested in learning more about this topic? Sign up for our Business Empowerment Services to work 1:1 with our team of Business Advisors: Register Here