The Magazine

The Delay Award

Nov 18, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 10 • By THE SCRAPBOOK
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Among the many parts of our big government is something called the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Congress created the fund almost 20 years ago, placing it in the Treasury Department. As stated on its website, the fund’s purpose is to promote “economic revitalization and community development through investment in and assistance to community development financial institutions”—CDFIs, in Treasury-speak. 

CDFI Fund

Banks, credit unions, loan funds, and community development venture capital funds can apply for formal certification as CDFIs. There are now more than 700 such financial institutions, and this year through its various revitalization and development programs, the fund will award them a total of $165 million. 

The Scrapbook only learned about the fund last week when a friend of the magazine forwarded an email from the entity dated November 4 that in the subject line said, “A Message to Our Users.” The message is that the fund is “in the process of upgrading its .  .  . information mapping system to version 3.” But there are some “issues” that have arisen that will take “longer to resolve than the planned upgrade period,” and that development might adversely affect organizations working to meet program application deadlines. The issues concern “the ability to save and submit maps attached to applications.” Something glitchy happened, The Scrapbook guesses. The email concludes: “To prevent creating an undue burden for current applicants, and to ensure the best experience for our users, we have decided to delay the launch” of version 3. 

Yes, you read that right: “We have decided to delay the launch.”

The Scrapbook has no opinion about the merits and effectiveness of the CDFI Fund. But we’re happy to recognize the fund’s administrators for their sound judgment in delaying the launch of technology important to users of their site that was not ready for prime time. Give them the Delay Award, or something.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius had multiple opportunities this past week to compete for the Delay Award. But she turned down bipartisan calls to shut down HealthCare.gov (where in theory you are supposed to be able to shop for insurance under Obamacare) for as long as it takes in order to fix its many glitches. “Why just keep limping along?” she was asked by fellow Democrat Sen. Max Baucus during a hearing in his chamber.

Good question. Delay is the right answer, or at least one right answer.

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