MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) – a mission-driven non-profit lender dedicated to improving communities and transforming lives – announced today that it has partnered with U.S. Bank to deliver a new solution for connecting small business borrowers with responsible lending options from community-based lenders across the country.
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, providing jobs, essential goods and services and generating local tax revenue. There are approximately 28.8 million small businesses in the U.S., accounting for more than 63 percent of the net new jobs created between 1993 and 2013. However, the Federal Reserve Bank’s 2016 Small Business Credit Survey found the most common challenge facing small businesses was “credit availability or securing funds for expansion.”
CRF’s Connect2Capital platform is a new way to support small businesses that do not qualify for traditional credit products by matching them with other flexible sources of financing from mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). CDFIs like CRF and its partners play a vital role in the U.S. economy, providing critical access to capital in historically underinvested communities. A network of more than 1,000 CDFIs operates nationwide, united by a common mission to expand economic opportunity and help Main Street businesses and communities grow and thrive.
Along with support from a group of leading CDFIs, CRF developed Connect2Capital to make it easier for financial institutions and their small business customers to navigate a national network of community lenders who operate independently. While referral partnerships between individual CDFIs and banks are common, this program leverages technology to streamline the experience and vastly increase the number of small businesses served by CDFIs.
"CRF has more than 30 years of experience investing in communities and small businesses to create jobs and economic vitality," said Frank Altman, founder and CEO of CRF. "With our new U.S. Bank partnership, together we're helping to fulfill our mission of empowering people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions."
The partnership also allows U.S. Bank to retain business banking relationships with small businesses that don't qualify for traditional lending products, but are good candidates for CDFI lending and advisory services. Ultimately, CDFIs strive to help build the credit and capacity of small businesses so they can become eligible for traditional lending products from the bank in the future. By connecting these borrowers with CDFI lenders, U.S. Bank can monitor progress and results, reaching out to businesses when the time is right for further financing needs.
"We think of Connect2Capital as an online matchmaking service for borrowers and CDFI lenders," said Steve SaLoutos, Metropolitan Bank Division Manager for U.S. Bank. "Any time we can support mission-driven lenders that strengthen local economies in the communities where we do business, it benefits the entire financial ecosystem."
U.S. Bank is one of the first financial institutions to initiate a nationwide referral partnership with CDFIs. Although banks have historically been important sources of capital for CDFIs, U.S. Bank’s partnership with CRF and Connect2Capital is a blueprint for broader engagement and impact that will ultimately help thousands of small business owners access the capital they need to create jobs and invest in their communities.
To learn more about how the Connect2Capital marketplace delivers transparent and responsible financing options to small businesses, visit www.connect2capital.com/partners.
About Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF)
Founded in 1988, Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) is a national non-profit organization with a mission to empower people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities through innovative financial solutions. A leading Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), CRF supports mission-driven organizations through the development of products and services aimed at increasing the flow of capital to historically underinvested communities across the country. CRF has injected more than $2.2 billion to help stimulate job creation and economic development, provide affordable housing, and support community facilities. For more information, visit www.crfusa.com.
About U.S. Bank
U.S. Bancorp, with 73,000 employees and $459 billion in assets as of September 30, 2017, is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the fifth-largest bank in the United States. The Minneapolis-based bank blends its branch and ATM network with mobile and online tools that allow customers to bank how, when and where they prefer. U.S. Bank is committed to serving its millions of retail, small business, wealth management, payment, wholesale and securities services customers across the country and around the world as a trusted financial partner, a commitment recognized by the Ethisphere Institute naming the bank a 2017 World’s Most Ethical Company. In 2016, U.S. Bank contributed $54.2 million to nonprofit organizations across the country through the U.S. Bank Foundation and corporate contributions. Additionally, employees donated more than 219,000 volunteer hours creating opportunities at work, home and play across the country. Visit U.S. Bank online or follow on social media to stay up to date with company news.