BALTIMORE, MD. – August 13, 2021 – Wells Fargo has selected Baltimore Community Lending (BCL) to receive grants from its Open for Business Fund, bringing $500,000 to Baltimore, Maryland, to help underserved small businesses stay open and preserve jobs. The funding will enable BCL to provide short- and long-term COVID-19 recovery efforts, technical assistance, and micro-lending programs for small business hair salons, barbershops, childcare centers, and arts-based small businesses. These industries are eligible for loans at a 3% interest rate.
The Open for Business Fund is a roughly $420 million small business recovery effort across the U.S. to help entrepreneurs recover and rebuild. Through this initiative, Wells Fargo is engaging Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and nonprofits to provide much-needed capital, technical expertise, and long-term resiliency programs to small business owners who have been hard hit by COVID-19. Through May, the Open for Business Fund is helping a projected 35,000 minority-owned small businesses keep an estimated 90,000 jobs nationwide and we will continue to announce new grants throughout 2021.
The Open for Business Fund grant to Baltimore Community Lending will help the Baltimore-based CDFI support the revitalization and strengthening of underserved Baltimore neighborhoods through innovative and flexible financial assistance. Their efforts are designed to promote community development and remove barriers to credit for small businesses, especially minority and women-owned businesses. BCL’s Small Business Lending division makes loans to entrepreneurs who have reasonable credit but who may not have collateral or may face other barriers to traditional lending resources.
“The Open for Business Fund enlists the care and expertise of organizations like City First Enterprises, ECDC Enterprise Development Group, NCRC, LEDC, Wacif and LISC D.C., to urgently assist the small business community and to help navigate entrepreneurs back to growth.” said Jenny Flores, head of Small Business Growth Philanthropy. “Small Business owners inspire us with their resilience. It is incumbent on all of us to help enable an inclusive economic recovery for these entrepreneurs and the neighborhoods they support.”
“Wells Fargo has demonstrated a long-term commitment to Baltimore through its work with BCL,” said Bonnie Crockett, Director of Small Business Lending at BCL. “Monica Mitchell, Vice President of Community Development with Wells Fargo, accepted a volunteer position on BCL’s Board of Directors in 2017, and has been actively working with us to make a difference in Baltimore ever since. Monica is always looking for ways to help BCL help small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color. We value our partnership with Monica and Wells Fargo, and together, we are making a difference, one small business at a time.”
Interested candidates can visit BCL’s website or call 410-319-0732.
About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.92 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, investment and mortgage products and services, as well as consumer and commercial finance, through 7,200 locations, more than 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 31 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2020 rankings of America’s largest corporations. News, insights and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.
About Baltimore Community Lending
Baltimore Community Lending is a 501(c)(3) CDFI and real estate development and construction lender that has been supporting the revitalization and strengthening of underserved Baltimore City neighborhoods since 1989. Given the challenges of stabilization and sustainability, BCL recognized that a small business economic growth strategy was a necessary component to neighborhood revitalization and launched its Small Business Lending division in March 2018. BCL supports the revitalization and strengthening of underserved Baltimore neighborhoods through innovative and flexible financial resources designed to promote community development. BCL has leveraged nearly $220MM to produce some 4400 affordable homes and 450,000 sq.ft. of commercial and community facility space. Since its launch, the Small Business Lending division has made over 40 loans to small businesses, disbursing more than $2.5MM into Baltimore City neighborhoods. BCL small business loans have resulted in the creation of more than 30 jobs and helped retain at least 80 more. 80% of BCL’s small business loans have been to minority owned businesses and 66% to women owned businesses.