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Bank of America Bolsters Minority Business Lending

Published Thursday Nov 18, 2021

Bank of America Bolsters Minority Business Lending

Bank of America is hoping to drive economic opportunity and upward mobility in NH with its recent grant of $40,000 to the NH Community Loan Fund, which provides lending and technical assistance to businesses owned by people of color.

Supported by this grant, the Community Loan Fund and the Manchester NAACP will launch the Community-Driven Economic Empowerment (C-DEE) pilot program in Manchester in January 2022. The program’s goal is to bring people of color together as a community to create a more resilient local economy in which more of their businesses thrive.

C-DEE draws on the historic work of the Manchester NAACP in advocating for equal economic opportunities, and the community economic development experience of the Community Loan Fund. The program began by interviewing business owners in Greater Manchester who identify as black, indigenous, or people of color about their needs. The hope is to expand this work to other areas of NH.

“Black and Brown business owners in NH need and deserve equal access to capital,” said Community Loan Fund President Steve Saltzman. “They also need engaged communities and relationships with lenders who understand their vital importance to their neighborhoods. This grant from Bank of America will enable us to reach deeper, serve more businesses, and respond to these communities’ unique challenges.”

“Through our five-year, $1.25 billion investment, Bank of America is committed to advancing racial equality and economic opportunity in our local communities,” said Ken Sheldon, president, Bank of America NH. “Our support of the NH Community Loan Fund helps to create opportunity for minority entrepreneurs and address areas in which systemic, long-term gaps have existed and where significant change is required to achieve sustainable progress.”

The Community Loan Fund’s business finance team offers financing and education to all types of businesses, with particular focus on farm and food, solar, and women-owned companies. The lenders work with companies that may be growth ready, but not yet bankable, and offer customized financing and technical assistance. 

Donations to the Community Loan Fund pay for the specialized education and training it provides to its borrowers. Some donors choose to direct their gifts to deepen the nonprofit’s supply of “permanent capital”— money it lends many times over into NH communities.

Its lending pool comes from hundreds of interest-earning investments in the Community Loan Fund by individuals and institutions.

The NH Community Loan Fund, based in Concord, is a community development financial institution.

Additional background about Bank of America’s Charitable Foundation giving can be found here.

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