Three-year capital program created in collaboration with Opportunity
SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC) today announced the launch of its Wells
Fargo Works for Small Business: Diverse Community Capital
program. The three-year program will deliver $75 million in grants and
lending capital to Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
that serve diverse-owned small businesses. The Company kicked off the
program by announcing grants and lending capital to three CDFIs: OBDC
Small Busineses Finance in Oakland, Calif., Black Business
Investment Fund Florida in Orlando, Fla., and Hope
Enterprise Corporation in Jackson, Miss.
CDFIs play an important role in helping small businesses to get started
and grow by providing reliable and affordable capital and technical
assistance. As part of the three-year Diverse Community Capital program,
Wells Fargo will extend $50 million in lending capital and $25 million
in grant capital to CDFIs across the country. In addition to lending and
grant capital, the program will also deliver activities to help CDFIs
build their social capital such as mentorship programs, knowledge
networks, consulting and other collaborative efforts to further increase
the capacity of CDFIs to lend to small businesses.
“The growth and success of diverse-owned small businesses depends on the
entire ecosystem of organizations that work with and support businesses
nationwide, most notably CDFIs that provide essential services for small
businesses,” said Mike Rizer, executive vice president and head of
Community Relations for Wells Fargo. “With this program, we want to help
CDFIs make an even bigger impact and help more small businesses start
and succeed in our communities. Increasing access to capital is an
important first step.”
The program is one component of Wells Fargo’s four-point
plan for small business support, which seeks to address the
challenges that diverse small business owners face when starting or
growing their business. In a national
survey commissioned by Wells Fargo and conducted
by Gallup, diverse small business owners, especially African
American small business owners, reported greater difficulties gaining
access to capital than their peers. Overall, the survey provided insight
into the needs of small business owners in six segments – African
American, Asian American, Hispanic, LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and
Transgender), military veteran, and women.
Wells Fargo is collaborating with Opportunity
Finance Network (OFN), a national network of CDFIs, on the creation
and execution of the Diverse Community Capital program, including the
delivery of social capital activities.
CDFIs interested in learning more about the Diverse Community Capital
program and how to apply can visit www.wellsfargo.com/cdfi.
“The Opportunity Finance Network team knows firsthand the real changes
CDFIs produce for people and communities and they share our commitment
to helping diverse-owned small businesses thrive,” said Megan Teare,
senior vice president, Wells Fargo Community Lending & Investment. “The
experience, insight and collaboration among OFN and its members will
assist us in delivering a successful, meaningful and impactful program.”
Mark Pinsky, president and chief executive officer of Opportunity
Finance Network added, “Financing diverse-owned small businesses is an
investment in the financial well-being of communities across the
country. CDFIs are uniquely positioned to deliver capital where it can
have the most impact, particularly to Black business owners, and others
who have faced barriers to accessing responsible, affordable financing.
OFN is pleased to work with Wells Fargo on the Diverse Community Capital
To kick off the program, three CDFIs have received capital distributions
through the new program. While the use of capital may vary, these CDFIs
will help diverse small business owners in the San Francisco Bay area,
in Florida, and in the mid-South with loans and technical assistance to
help them start and grow their businesses.
OBDC Small Business Finance, Oakland, Calif.
Small Business Finance in Oakland, Calif. received a $750,000
loan to support their loan fund for small businesses and a grant for
$700,000 to support activities that will increase their capabilities
to support their clients. OBDC Small Business Finance focuses on
serving low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs in Oakland and San
Francisco and veteran-owned businesses throughout California.
Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF) Florida, Orlando, Fla.
Florida in Orlando, Fla. received a grant for $1 million to
support diverse small business owners by investing capital into its
loan fund, hiring staff to work on the ground of the communities
they serve, and by developing and enhancing relationships with
diverse small businesses, minority chambers, and other diversity
groups. BBIF specializes in providing loans to African-American,
minority and underserved small businesses in Florida and in helping
those businesses enhance their financial and management
capacity through specialized technical assistance training.
Hope Enterprise Corporation, Jackson, Miss.
Enterprise Corporation in Jackson, Miss. received a $2 million
grant to support the costs of HOPE’s commercial lending, outreach
and technical assistance programs for small businesses, specifically
geared to reaching and lending to minority- and women-owned and led
businesses. HOPE focuses on strengthening communities and improving
the lives of people in economically distressed areas of Arkansas,
Louisiana, Mississippi, and in Memphis, Tenn.
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified,
community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets.
Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides
banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial
finance through 8,700 locations, 12,800 ATMs, the internet
(wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to
support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With
approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three
households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30
on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells
Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help
them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells
Fargo Blogs and Wells
Wells Fargo serves approximately 3 million small business owners across
the United States and loans more money to America’s small businesses
than any other bank (2002-2014 CRA government data). To help more small
businesses achieve financial success, in 2014 Wells Fargo introduced Wells
Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM – a
broad initiative to deliver resources, guidance and services for
business owners – and a goal to extend $100 billion in new lending to
small businesses by 2018. For more information about Wells Fargo Works for
Small Business, visit: WellsFargoWorks.com.
us on Twitter @WellsFargoWorks.