Alternative business financer World Business Lenders held its Fall Social in Jersey City last week, where it announced the introduction of two funds to provide access to capital for small business owners and entrepreneurs in underserved communities across the country.
At the event, the Jersey City-based direct lender announced the launch of The Hispanic and African-American Chamber Funds, which aim to make low-cost capital available, nationwide, to its respective Hispanic Chamber and African-American Chamber members.
WBL Founder and Chairman Doug Naidus was joined by Carlos Medina, president of Hackettstown-based Robinson Arieral Surveys Inc. and president and chief executive officer of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, and U.S. Rep. Ed Towns, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, for the announcement.
“Latino business communities have been historically underserved in accessing capital,” Medina, who chairs the Hispanic Chamber Fund, said in a prepared statement. “Forty-three percent of all Latino small business lenders currently report a problem of accessibility to capital. The mission of the Hispanic Chamber Fund is to not only provide affordable capital to our community but also to make capital available on fair and transparent terms.”
According to WBL, 40 years ago there were 14,000 community banks serving local businesses. But, between 1989 and 1995 about one-third of these financial institutions closed at the direction of the U.S. Government’s Resolution Trust Corp. – affecting both local and national market presence. Then, WBL said, in 2006 the subprime crisis led to a set of closures affecting another third of these community institutions.
The Hispanic Chamber Fund, aimed at making low-cost capital available to nationwide Hispanic Chamber members, brings together Hispanic business leaders and World Business Lenders. Similarly, the African-American Chamber Fund, a collaboration between African-American business leaders and World Business lenders, will do the same.
“The African-American Chamber Fund will allow minority entrepreneurs more access to capital to create or grow their businesses on fair and transparent terms, with lenders who are part of the community and, therefore, have a vested interest in seeing their communities succeed,” said Towns.
World Business Lenders serves as advisor, co-sponsor and servicer to the Hispanic Chamber Fund, offering on-the-job training for loan program reps. WBL contributes its existing infrastructure, at cost, to implement and execute the Funds, has sourced start-up financing, and works to garner commitments from additional sponsors.
In addition to Medina, the Hispanic Chamber Fund board of managers features Naidus in the role of vice chairman, and Cristina Antelo, Adolfo Carrion, Louis De La Hoz, Gerville “Gerry” Gibbs, Axel Miranda, Bishop Joshua Rodriguez and Lili Gil Valetta. E. Junior Maldonado and Stella Nolasco serve as special advisors to the Fund.
The African American Chamber Fund board of managers features Town, as chairperson, Archbishop David Billings as vice chairperson, Naidus as vice chairperson, Derrick Chambers as program manager and Bob Beamon, the Rev. Dr. Byron Benton, Shirley Frye, Gerville “Gerry” Gibbs, John Harmon, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Axel Miranda.l