The Veteran Loan Fund aims to fill the financial and training gap that underserved veterans face when building a small business. This fund includes a network of veteran service organizations focused on technical assistance and formal business coaching coupled with a network of twelve specialized capital providers, Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). Eligible Veterans benefit from free business coaching and loans with interest rates of 10% or less.
“The Veteran Loan Fund will help BBIF as it continues its mission to provide access to flexible and affordable capital and technical assistance to veteran entrepreneurs,” said Duane Lewis, COO of BBIF. “We are excited to deepen our commitment to Black & minority veterans whose sacrifices helped make our great nation what it is today, and supporting them in their pursuit of the American dream.”
It has been demonstrated that veterans returning to civil life, have a high preference for independence and entrepreneurship but lack access to capital, formal business training and a network of peers. The Veteran Collaborative, now rebranded Veteran Loan Fund, was born in 2017 as an effort to consolidate best business practices to engage with and support veteran entrepreneurs.
“The flow of capital has a significant role to play in advancing opportunities for veterans,” said Dan Letendre, CDFI Lending and Investing executive at Bank of America. “By investing in the Veteran Loan Fund, we can help bring untapped potential among our local veteran entrepreneurs to the forefront and help to drive innovation, expanding job growth and creating generational wealth across our communities.”
Specialized technical assistance partners include Bunker Labs, Vet Met, Vet to CEO, as well as local partnerships with Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs. The full list of member CDFI’s of this nationwide collaboration are, Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (GA), Black Business Investment Fund (FL), Business Impact Northwest (WA, OR), Colorado Enterprise Fund (CO), Dream Spring (NM), Economic and Community Development Institute (OH), Pathway Lending (TN, AL, KY), PeopleFund – managing member (TX), Pursuit – formerly Excelsior Growth Fund (NJ, NY, PA), Wisconsin Women Business Initiative Corporation (WI).
The Veteran Loan Fund’s first $15 million round is made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below-market-rate lending capital from Bank of America as the lead investor, along with historic support from other major institutions in the form of loan capital and grants. The fund plans to grow to $100 million within five years, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from Veteran entrepreneurs that do not receive any kind of funding.
For more information about The Veteran Loan Fund please visit us at: https://www.vet.loan/join-us/.
Created in 1987, BBIF’s mission is to develop and promote Black business enterprises through education, training, loans, investments, and other activities and to aggressively promote an atmosphere conducive to their development. A mission-driven lender, BBIF helps communities and businesses thrive by providing loan capital and specialized financial technical assistance services. BBIF is a CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution) and CDE (Community Development Enterprise) certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury, Community Advantage and Micro Loan lender as certified by U.S. Small Business Administration, Money Smart for Small Business collaborator certified by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and is AERIS rated triple star, A-minus. Since our inception, BBIF has provided over $62 million in loans to more than 800 businesses and leveraged $292 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) community investments. BBIF’s investments have helped to create/sustain over 17,800 jobs, all while maintaining a historical loan loss rate of 4%. Learn more at BBIF.com.
Bank of America
At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).