When Julio moved from Colombia to Florida, he knew he wanted to bring a bit of his hometown with him, so he opened Rico Pan De Bono, a bakery serving traditional Colombian food and pastries. For the past 7 years, Julio’s bakery has become an important part of his community, helping provide jobs for 8 individuals. Late last year, the bakery needed some crucial renovations to remain in business and Julio needed capital to move on with these changes. Unfortunately, just like many entrepreneurs who are new to this country, Julio’s short credit history made it impossible for him to receive a loan from a bank. Luckily, his banker at Chase referred him to microlender ACCION USA where his loan consultant, Gustavo Perez, was able to help him understand his credit and what credit means to him. Together, they drafted a plan to improve his credit and ACCION USA provided him with a $5,000 microloan. This money will not just help Julio build his credit history, but it will also help him keep the doors to his business open.
In November, our Florida team launched a coordinated referral partnership with local Chase branches and business bankers to receive business loan applicants that didn’t meet Chase’s criteria. These individuals are referred to ACCION USA where they receive technical assistance and loans. This way, Chase bankers are able to preserve their relationships with applicants—applicants that ultimately grow their businesses, formalize and deposit their loans and business revenue into Chase accounts. This past month, half of our loans disbursed in Miami were referrals from Chase.
“I truly appreciate your partnership and allowing us the access of your resources so that we may be of service to our local communities.” -Ricardo Nelson Rios, Chase Business Banking Area Manager, Miami, FL.
Want to be become a partner? Contact us!
New York—Erica Dorn
New England—Elizabeth Garlow
Florida— Gustavo Perez
A down real estate market has hurt many Georgia banks.
A post from Veronica Tong in the ACCION USA Georgia office:
With yet another local bank failure over the weekend in the state of Georgia, things are not looking peachy in the Peach State. Of the 64 banks that have failed this year, 16 of them are from Georgia. In fact, Georgia has the highest number of failed banks in the entire country. As if the stats don’t speak for themselves, Georgia was even dubbed the unflattering title “Chernobyl of Banking” by a banking expert in the Wall Street Journal. And this is not the worst of it. According to the WSJ, there are 30 local banks currently at risk and more are expected to fail.
How did Georgia get here? As a metro-Atlanta resident, I have always marveled at how quickly new chic condos, shiny new office buildings, and new trendy strip malls boasting rows and rows of parking spots seem to pop up overnight. With Atlanta being the fastest growing city in the nation from 2000 and 2007, metro Atlanta’s robust growth stimulated enormous suburban commercial real estate development, but it also brought in a rush of new community banks hoping to capitalize on the boom right before the economy collapsed.
So who suffers? Small businesses who rely on their banking relationships with smaller community banks to help them surpass steep collateral requirements and other hurdles typical at larger financial institutions. As a Georgia resident, I would rather brag about our peaches, our state’s largest aquarium in the world, our Atlanta Braves, our state song made popular by Ray Charles, and even about the stellar ratings of Real Housewives of Atlanta before I get to the dismal bank failure statistics. But these numbers are a reflection of reality – the reality that small business owners need guidance and financing to keep their businesses afloat now more than ever before.
Though it may be a tough time to be in lending, it’s a proud time to be in microfinance, which may be Georgia’s best hope for getting affected small business owners back on their feet. Not only can microloans alleviate the current lack of supply in credit, successful microenterprises will also create jobs and fuel business growth, which are the keys to economic recovery. With small business owners’ and micro-entrepreneurs’ increasing unmet demand for credit, I believe there is no better time than now for ACCION USA in Atlanta, and in the rest of the country, to step up and help displaced small business owners by filling the void of failed banks.