Magazine article Black Enterprise

National News: Wells Fargo Commits $1 Billion in Loans

Magazine article Black Enterprise

National News: Wells Fargo Commits $1 Billion in Loans

Article excerpt

Loan program eyes small business growth nationwide

Wells Fargo just gave small business owners about I billion reasons to smile. The San Francisco-based bank recently established a nationwide $1 billion loan program specifically targeting African American business owners.

"In the past we've looked at different market segments and noticed that African Americans have the fastest growing businesses, but we haven't directed marketing efforts toward this particular segment," says Effie Booker, senior vice president and community development officer at Wells Fargo. Booker says the loans will extend for the next 12 years to established African American small business owners. "The goal of this program is to reach out to that segment of people," she says.

To qualify for funds ranging from $5,000 to $100,000 under the African American Loan Program, business owners must have been in a profitable enterprise for the previous three years; have a satisfactory personal and business credit record; have an established business bank account; and not have declared bankruptcy within the past 10 years. There are no restrictions in terms of how many employees companies must have or what they must have grossed in a previous year. Businesses must simply be "in the black"--so to speak.

It seems that Wells Fargo has something of a track record in assisting minority businesses. The bank established a $1 billion women's loan program in 1995, which it expanded to $10 billion in 1996. …

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