By helping poor people in the United States enter the economic mainstream, we reduce the social costs of poverty, increase national productivity, and improve social conditions for all of us. By helping poor people abroad, we create new markets for American exports and increase stability, thereby enhancing our national security. Helping the poor is clearly in the interest of the poor, but it is equally clearly in the interest of all Americans, no matter where they live or what their economic status may be.That takes investment in education, in training, in skills. Toward these ends, the President has expanded Head Start and has helped our nation's schools better prepare our children for the 21st century. He has expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit to help families choose work over welfare and to make work pay.And as you will be discussing here today, that requires expanding capital access, an important part of helping to reduce poverty in neighborhoods throughout the world. I saw it working in Manila at a micro-project underwritten by the Asian Development Bank. There, people in a poor neighborhood who couldn't possibly get capital in traditional channels are borrowing to start very small businesses. Moreover, the loans are profitable and the repayment rate is very high. This is micro-lending putting people to work.We don't have a monopoly on good ideas in the United States. This works overseas, and if adapted to our own economy, it can work in America to help people in distressed communities better their lives and join the American economic mainstream.In fact, as you well know, microenterprise development has begun in earnest here in the United States. I have met people involved in these programs and the results are encouraging. But we must expand the scale, and at the same time combine the availability of capital with technical assistance and training for borrowers. Again, a lesson to be learned from observing programs abroad.Micro-enterprise lending is just one example of President Clinton's commitment to increasing the flow of private capital to economically distressed areas. He has reduced regulations and paperwork to make the Community Reinvestment Act more effective for borrowers and less burdensome for banks, and he has successfully defended the Community Reinvestment Act against Congressional efforts to undermine it.He has also, and very importantly, launched the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, or CDFI, to provide seed and expansion capital to community-based banks, credit unions, community loan funds, and micro-lenders. These institutions foster economic growth and job creation in their neighborhoods. When we issued our first call for CDFIs and traditional financial institutions to apply for Fund assistance and incentives, community requests exceeded current resources by 10 to 1.