NEW YORK, May 10, 2022 /PRNewswire/ --The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced the close of $100 million for the Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund (Loan Fund), an impact investment loan fund that works with local community development financial institutions (CDFIs) to accelerate the flow of capital to minority-led businesses.
This round of commitments is led by $50 million in senior and subordinate loan capital from JPMorgan Chase. Last year, JPMorgan Chase selected LISC to lead the national expansion of the Entrepreneurs of Color Fund program (EOCF), including the addition of this new mission-oriented loan fund. Other early investors in the Loan Fund include Block (formerly Square, Inc.), Amalgamated Bank, Costco, Forbright Bank and Rippleworks.
"The EOCF program has shown how cities can be laboratories of innovation, where one pilot program, tested in a handful of cities over time, can be scaled to support small businesses in communities across the country," said Erin Robert, head of Impact Finance at JPMorgan Chase. "With the addition of this new fund, JPMorgan Chase and the other investors are able to pull together resources to help advance racial equity and build a more inclusive economy."
The EOCF program assists minority business growth with direct financing as well as access to advisory services and networking tools. It works with CDFIs serving targeted cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Detroit, DC Metro, Los Angeles, New York and the San Francisco Bay area. To date, it has served 1,500 businesses.
The Loan Fund expands the capacity for impact. It purchases participations in previously originated loans to minority-owned businesses from designated CDFI partners to free up local capital for additional lending to entrepreneurs of color. Qualifying transactions include micro-loans, non-SBA small business loans and commercial real estate loans with average amounts ranging from $10,000-$550,000.
"The Loan Fund represents an innovative model for the capital delivery system," said George Ashton, president of LISC Fund Management, LLC, which oversees the fund. "While there is a secondary market for SBA loans, there is no similar option for many other types of loans. The Loan Fund offers that missing liquidity, with a specific focus on loans to entrepreneurs of color and the goal of increasing access to capital for those businesses."
"The Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund provides liquidity to CDFIs that are on the front lines in communities of color and understand the barriers that entrepreneurs of color have historically faced. Amalgamated Bank values partnering with institutions like LISC, JPMorgan Chase and others that are committed to racial equity and prioritizing solutions that reduce the racial wealth gap," said Priscilla Sims Brown, Amalgamated Bank's president and chief executive officer.
The Loan Fund's goal is to help break down systemic barriers that have historically limited the growth of minority businesses. Black- and Hispanic-owned businesses have been underrepresented among enterprises that grow using external financing (financing through household savings, social networks, or bank financing). This suggests that Black- and Hispanic-owned firms have fewer opportunities to build businesses with a scale-based competitive advantage.
"We are excited to partner alongside LISC, JPMorgan Chase and the other investors in the Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund to promote entrepreneurship and contribute to greater access and equity across small business financing. LISC's mission with EOCLF is well-aligned with Forbright's focus on sustainability and we look forward to witnessing this important initiative's impact on small businesses and underrepresented communities," said Sonia Khanna, managing director of sustainable finance at Forbright Bank.
"The future of our collective social and economic well-being depends on fighting systemic racism and addressing the growing wealth gap in our country," notes Doug Galen, co-founder and CEO at Rippleworks. "By accelerating the flow of capital to minority entrepreneurs, the EOCLF gives financial institutions the opportunity to take an active role in breaking down the barriers that have contributed to the significant economic inequality in the U.S."
The Loan Fund's partner CDFIs include: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), Ascendus, BOC Capital Corp., Detroit Development Fund, LISC, Pursuit, and TruFund Financial Services, Inc. The Loan Fund plans to expand its list of partner CDFIs over time.
"The Loan Fund provides innovative solutions that will create access to affordable capital for minority business owners," said James H. Bason, president and CEO of TruFund Financial Services, Inc. "We strongly believe that access to capital is critical to growing resilient small businesses and sustaining vibrant communities. This partnership moves us beyond the power of one to the power of collaboration to foster inclusive economies and help close the racial wealth gap."
The EOCF program was piloted in Detroit in 2015 by JPMorgan Chase, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Detroit Development Fund. It has since attracted a range of investors and partners to provide approximately $75 million in direct financing and advisory services to 1,500 businesses, including firms like The Lip Bar in Detroit and Nappy Head Club in New York.
The new Loan Fund complements those grants, loans, and services with an additional stream of financing. It is part of LISC's $1 billion Project 10X commitment to narrow racial gaps in health wealth and opportunity throughout the country as well as JPMorgan Chase's $30 billion Racial Equity Commitment.
For general information on the EOCF program, visit https://www.lisc.org/eocf/.
For details on the Entrepreneurs of Color Loan Fund, visit https://www.liscstrategicinvestments.org/EOCLF.
LISC is one of the country's largest community development organizations, helping forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so that people and places can thrive. Since our founding in 1979, LISC has invested $26.7 billion to create more than 463,000 affordable homes and apartments, develop 78.5 million square feet of retail, community and educational space and help tens of thousands of people find employment and improve their finances. For more, visit www.lisc.org.
About JPMorgan Chase
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading financial services firm based in the United States of America ("U.S."), with operations worldwide. JPMorgan Chase had $3.7 trillion in assets and $294.1 billion in stockholders' equity as of December 31, 2021. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. Under the J.P. Morgan and Chase brands, the Firm serves millions of
customers in the U.S. and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients globally. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com
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SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)