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PeopleFund Director of Lending selected for Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance

Rocio Vallejo is One of 48 Professionals Nationwide Chosen for Second Year of Unique Professional Development Program 

Initiative Developed ‘by CDFIs for CDFIs’ to Advance Opportunity Finance Expertise Nationwide

Austin TX – PeopleFund announced today that Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) and the Citi Foundation have selected Rocio Vallejo as one of 48 community development financial institution (CDFI) professionals who will participate in the second annual Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance.

Developed by CDFIs for CDFIs, the unique industry-wide initiative launched in 2014 and prepares participants to lead transformational change, ensures strong leadership at all levels of the industry, and promotes leaders that represent the diverse communities that CDFIs serve.

rocio serious

As Director of Lending, Education & Training Rocio is passionate about entrepreneurship; for the last 10 years she has devoted her time to assisting small business owners with access to capital and business development. She also held management roles in national banks with Texas locations. Before joining PeopleFund, Rocio was responsible for central Texas loan production and portfolio management for Accion Texas, Inc. Rocio holds an MBA in Business Management from Texas A&M–Commerce. In 2011, Rocio, her husband, and her two small children moved from their hometown, El Paso, to the Austin area and have enjoyed every minute of what the Greater Austin community has to offer their family. Rocio is responsible for statewide loan production and ensure we have loan products responsive to the need of our clients.

“Rocio is an exceptional member of our senior management team, and  the perfect choice for the Citi Leadership Program” remarked PeopleFund President & CEO, Gary Lindner.  He went on to say “Rocio is passionately committed to our clients, and has all the professional qualities to become a  high impact CEO”.

Rocio is among a group of emerging, mid-career, and executive level professionals from CDFIs in 20 states and the District of Columbia. These participants represent many CDFI types and focus areas, including affordable housing finance, business and microenterprise, community facilities, and consumer finance. (Visit to see the full list of participants.)

“The first year of the Citi Leadership Program was a resounding success, and we look forward to working with this next group of professionals,” said Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of OFN. “OFN welcomes these leaders to the program. Across the board, each selected participant demonstrates commitment to leading structural and systemic change in the opportunity finance industry. We are thankful for the Citi Foundation’s longstanding support of CDFIs and its dedication to developing talent, which will enable the industry to continue to raise the bar in how we serve low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged communities.”

Beginning in January, the 2015 cohort will meet four times over eleven months and follow a curriculum that OFN developed with the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.

“When we have a strong roster of talented and dedicated professionals leading the CDFI industry, we have the potential to create a much deeper impact in the low-income communities that CDFIs serve,” said Brandee McHale, Chief Operating Officer of the Citi Foundation. “This program enables individuals at all levels of their careers to create a road map for personal and professional success while thinking strategically about how to influence the opportunity finance industry for generations to come.”

About PeopleFund

Peoplefund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1994. It is a U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and SBA certified lender. PeopleFund provides business loans up to $250,000 to Texas businesses that do not qualify for bank loans. It also provides client business assistance and education. The target market is minority, women, and veteran business owners and those residing in low to moderate income communities. 89% of PeopleFund loans are made within the target market and 51% of loans are to startup businesses with fewer than two years in business, as well as to nonprofit and community organizations with high social impact. Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses.

About Opportunity Finance Network

OFN, the leading network of private financial institutions, creates growth that is good for communities, investors, individuals, and the economy. Members of OFN are community development financial institutions (CDFIs) that deliver responsible lending to help low-wealth and low-income communities join the economic mainstream. Through 2012, OFN’s Network originated more than $33.3 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, and financed development/rehab of 960,000 housing units, started or expanded nearly 94,000 business and microenterprises, and helped create or maintain nearly 600,000 jobs. More information is available at:

About the Citi Foundation  

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. We invest in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyze job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. The Citi Foundation’s “More than Philanthropy” approach leverages the enormous expertise of Citi and its people to fulfill our mission and drive thought leadership and innovation. Additional information can be found at

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