$75 Million Wells Fargo Program Supports Diverse-Owned Small Businesses with Loans, Grants to CDFIs

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$75 Million Wells Fargo Program Supports Diverse-Owned Small Businesses with Loans, Grants to CDFIs

Three-year capital program created in collaboration with Opportunity Finance Network
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.@WellsFargoB2B Diverse Community Capital program provides $75 million to #CDFIs helping #smallbusinesses.
Monday, November 2, 2015 - 8:15am

CONTENT: Press Release

SAN FRANCISCO, November 2, 2015 /3BL Media/ - 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 program."

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.

OBDC 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.

    BBIF 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.

Hope 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.

About Wells Fargo
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 Fargo Stories.

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. Follow us on Twitter @WellsFargoWorks.

Keywords: Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Business & Trade | Corporate Social Responsibility | Diversity | Grants | Women In Business | community | lending | small business

CONTENT: Press Release