New York (PRESS RELEASE – Oct 24, 2010) – Highlighting its strong commitment to help small businesses grow and succeed – especially during challenging times – Citi announced a new partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). The goal of the partnership is to help New York City’s small businesses and entrepreneurs obtain the technical assistance and financing they need to start, operate and expand. Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh made the announcement today during a press conference at the NYC Business Solutions Center in Brooklyn.
“Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy and these businesses need a boost during these challenging economic times. Helping New York City’s entrepreneurs get started, grow and thrive is a big part of our commitment to strengthening the communities we serve. This initiative is especially significant to Citi as New York City is home to our global headquarters and more than 20,000 of our employees,” said Pandit.
“We are grateful to have such a supportive and innovative partner in Citi – not only to help us expand the assistance we offer to help New York’s small businesses thrive, but also to enrich and guide our own staff with their expertise,” said Commissioner Walsh.
Citi To Help More Businesses Establish Stability, Access Loans via SBS
Citi Community Development, which leads Citi’s efforts to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities, will provide $385,000 in funding to the new partnership. These funds will go toward expanding and enabling NYC Business Solutions to help more customers in all five boroughs – particularly those with low to moderate incomes – with accounting and loan packaging assistance.
The primary challenge facing SBS in assisting small businesses is that many do not properly manage their bookkeeping records and cash flow. As a result of this inability to demonstrate fiscal stability, many of these businesses have trouble accessing financing. The funding from Citi will help address this issue by enabling a larger volume of businesses in New York City to receive one-on-one technical assistance to develop and manage the proper financial documentation.
New Skill-Based Volunteer Initiative to Pair Citi Mentors with SBS Account Managers
Also as part of the partnership with SBS, Citi will launch an employee skill-based volunteer initiative to provide mentorship and ongoing consultation between Citibank Small Business bankers or underwriters and NYC Business Solutions financing account managers. Under the new program, Citi will pair several qualified Citibank Small Business bankers with each NYC Business Solutions Center account manager to provide support on loan packaging and tax-related or financial projections issues, among others.
In addition, ACCION loan officers in New York City will be matched to Citi employees. ACCION is the nation’s leading microfinance organization providing flexible loans (up to $50,000) and provides affordable alternatives to high-cost sources of capital, such as credit cards, factoring, or predatory lenders.
The program plans to gather all participants quarterly to discuss progress, measure the impact and benefits of the mentorship, and identify opportunities to provide more targeted assistance and training to NYC Business Solutions staff.
Under the new volunteer program, select Citi employees will also participate as panelists and advisors in Strategic Steps for Growth, an executive management training program for minority and women business owners, taught at New York University and managed by SBS.
Citi Employees Volunteer For Global Community Day
This new partnership supports Citi’s ongoing volunteer efforts and coincides with the bank’s fifth annual Global Community Day. More than 45,000 Citi employees are participating in 950 different activities across 75 countries as part of this year’s annual event. Citi employees are committed to being a global force for good in their communities. Many Citi employees volunteer year-round, but Global Community Day provides an annual opportunity to have company employees, along with their families and friends, come together as a global volunteer team.
About Small Business Services
The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce.
Citi, the leading global financial services company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi’s major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Banamex, and Nikko.
Citi Community Development (CCD) is leading Citi’s commitment to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities by expanding access to financial products and services, and building sustainable business solutions and innovative partnerships. Our focus areas include: commercial and philanthropic funding; innovative financial products and services; and collaborations with institutions that expand access to financial products and services for low-income and underserved communities.
About ACCION USA
ACCION USA is a private, nonprofit microlending organization that serves low- and moderate-income individuals, who are unable to access mainstream financial services. A pioneer and recognized leader in the domestic microfinance field, ACCION USA is dedicated to providing small business owners and individuals on the economic margin with access capital and greater financial literacy.