Chase Hands Over $19M in Small Bus. Funding

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ChaseJPMorgan Chase & Co. is handing over $19 million to help small businesses in distressed neighborhoods.

The grants, part of $25 million Chase is pledging to community development financial institutions, are going to five organizations that serve neighborhoods in Texas, Louisiana, California, Delaware and Washington-Oregon.

Each group will get between $2 million and $5 million.

The money will fund loans for low income individuals and small businesses.

Among the recipients is Accion Texas-Louisiana, a nonprofit lender that funds businesses throughout the two states. President and CEO Janie Barrera said the group lends to individuals who cannot get financing through traditional banks. With average loans of $16,000, they help their borrowers start small businesses and keep them growing.

“Most of our customers come for a second or third loan,” she said. “They truly use it as working capital.”

Barrera said Accion plans to use $4.5 million of their grant from Chase to fund new loans, and $500,000 to create a business incubator in San Antonio. Expected to open next year, the incubator will house seven or eight startup businesses, which will share support services like accounting and marketing for a year to 18 months. At the end of that time, they will move the businesses into the community and a new group will join the incubator.

Chase said the grants, when combined with other private and government funding, will make up to $250 million available for small business lending.

The other recipients include:
? Valley Economic Development Center Inc., a nonprofit small business development corporation in Los Angeles.
? Opportunity Fund, a lender and technical assistance provider in the San Francisco area.
? First State Community Loan Fund, based in Wilmington, Del.
? Enterprise Cascadia, a creditor and small business consultant with seven offices in Washington and Oregon.

Community development financial institutions provide financial services to underserved neighborhoods in 44 states and Washington, D.C.

Source: The Associated Press.