Fifth Third Bank Fuels Small Business Growth through Accion Partnership

Bank investment helps connect small businesses with financial and educational resources

Kala Gibson, head of Business Banking for Fifth Third Bank (Photo: Business Wire)

CINCINNATI--()--Fifth Third Bank today announced an investment and expanded partnership with the Accion U.S. Network - the largest network of nonprofit small business lenders in the United States - to support lending to underserved small businesses in Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

“Accion specializes in lending to early-stage businesses, and it has proven that the right combination of personalized advice and capital can produce outstanding results,” said Kala Gibson, head of Business Banking for Fifth Third Bank. “Whether it is through providing financing or connecting business leaders with community resources like Accion, Fifth Third is committed to supporting small businesses at every step of their growth journey.”

The partnership highlights Fifth Third’s focus on championing entrepreneurship and strengthening ties within its communities by providing capital to support a loan pool fund. This builds upon Fifth Third Bank’s five-year, $30 billion Community Commitment, which includes $10 billion for small business lending, product innovation and enhanced underwriting and fulfillment. Additionally, the Bank’s commitment includes expanding technical assistance and support for alternative lending channels.

“Small businesses create two out of every three jobs in the United States; they are essential to economic growth and development,” said Byna Elliott, senior vice president and director of Community and Economic Development for Fifth Third Bank. “This partnership with Accion allows us both to provide the needed resources to help small businesses increase capacity and spur job creation, resulting in stronger communities throughout the country.”

Since 1991, Accion has disbursed nearly $500 million to more than 57,000 small businesses and provided 500,000 entrepreneurs with consulting services and business support. Accion’s average loan size is $10,000 in the United States.

“Partners like Fifth Third Bank are integral to supporting hardworking entrepreneurs across the United States, from referring business owners to Accion for lending and advising services to providing the financial support that makes our work possible,” said Gina Harman, CEO of the Accion U.S. Network. “We are excited to expand our relationship with Fifth Third and look forward to the impact this investment will have on small business owners and the communities they serve.”

Toby Beall, owner of Tailwinds Distilling in Plainfield, Illinois, has seen the benefits of working with both Fifth Third Bank and Accion.

To keep up with his business growth in the Chicago market, Beall initially turned to Fifth Third Bank for a small loan. The Fifth Third team determined after consulting with Beall that his business would be best served by a partnership with Accion. Beall then secured a $15,000 loan from Accion to purchase new equipment for his distillery.

“Working with Accion was immensely helpful,” Beall said. “They knew exactly what we needed and it was gratifying to work with an organization that understood where we were coming from as a small business.”

Fifth Third’s investment in the Accion U.S. Network will support:

  • Educating small business owners on cash flow and credit before they apply for a loan.
  • Providing capital to small business owners to start or grow their businesses. Accion in the U.S. provides affordable and transparently priced loans ranging from $300 to $1,000,000, depending on the business owner’s location and individual capital needs.
  • Providing small business owners, including Accion loan applicants and recipients as well as the broader small business community, with coaching they need to be successful. Accion offers workshops, classes and webinars on topics such as credit repair, financial management and building a better business plan are all part of Accion’s service offering.

In a 2016 Fifth Third Bank study, four out of five small business owners admitted to not taking full advantage of resources dedicated to helping them develop and grow. Yet, roughly 38 percent said they needed help growing revenue and increasing profits.

Fifth Third Bank is committed to helping with the development of small businesses throughout its footprint. In 2015, the Bank loaned more than $2 billion to small businesses. Fifth Third has been recognized by Greenwich Associates as one of the "best brands" in small business banking. Additionally, the State Small Business Credit Initiative revealed that Fifth Third is the largest lender by dollar amount since the program's inception in 2011.

About Fifth Third

Fifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the Company had $142 billion in assets and operates 1,191 full-service Banking Centers, including 94 Bank Mart® locations, most open seven days a week, inside select grocery stores and 2,495 ATMs in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending, and Wealth & Asset Management. As of Dec. 31, 2016, Fifth Third also had a 17.9 percent interest in Vantiv Holding, LLC. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of Dec. 31, 2016, had $315 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $31 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the NASDAQ® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender

About Accion in the U.S.

A nationwide lender with deep community roots, Accion in the U.S. creates economic opportunity by partnering with small business owners to provide access to capital and the business support they need to create and grow healthy enterprises and contribute to thriving local economies. Comprised of four, independent, regional community development financial institutions (CDFIs) and a national office that invests in innovation, technology and information sharing for the benefit of the entire network, the Accion U.S. Network is the only organization of its kind dedicated to underserved small businesses in the U.S. Since 1991, Accion has lent over $500 million to more than 57,000 businesses and provided more than 500,000 entrepreneurs with advising services. As a result, these businesses have collectively generated and sustained more than 22,000 jobs in communities across the U.S. Globally, Accion has a deep knowledge of fintech and expertise in building 100+ sustainable, scalable and profitable financial service providers, reaching millions of entrepreneurs through its international network of partners. For more information on Accion small business loans in the United States, please visit


Fifth Third Bank
Sean Parker, 513-534-6791


Fifth Third Bank
Sean Parker, 513-534-6791