Huntington Bank has announced it has launched a new $25 million lending program. The program will be focused on helping Midwest-based small businesses owned by minorities, women and veterans.
The Huntington Lift Local Business program will be a big part of the lender’s $20 billion Community Plan. The recently announced five-year plan aims to drive economic inclusion through access to capital, affordable housing, and home ownership.
The program, dedicated to bringing relief, recovery and growth to minority, women and veteran-owned small businesses, is welcome news. The National Bureau of Economic Research reported distinct differences between the effects of Covid-19 on different minority communities. While the total amount of active business owners fell by 22% between February and April, black businesses dropped by 41%. Latinx business owners experienced a 32% drop.
The $20 billion Community Plan joins Huntington’s other efforts to help small businesses during the pandemic. The bank has processed over 38,000 Paycheck Protection Program loans as well as announcing a 24-Hour Grace for Business program. The latter program provides overdraft fee relief for all of Huntington’s small business customers.
Huntington Bank Pandemic Loan Program
The Huntington Lift Local Business program means small businesses can secure SBA-guaranteed loans from $1,000 up to $150,000. As part of the $20 billion Community Plan, the new lending program has many features beneficial to small businesses.
These features include zero origination fees, lower credit score requirements and flexible, longer repayment options. The SBA fees will also be paid by Huntington, while checking accounts benefit from the 24-Hour Grace overdraft fee relief.
Huntington’s business banking director, Steve Rhodes, said:
“We know small businesses need help, and Huntington Lift Local Business delivers a new solution to our customers when they need it most, whether for a start-up or for an established business looking to grow.”
Free financial education courses will also be provided through Huntington’s partnership with Operation HOPE.
Huntington and Operation HOPE
Huntington’s new lending program will also give the bank’s customers access to business-planning and educational programs to support their businesses.
The free educational programming and financial literacy training will be provided through a partnership with Operation HOPE, a non-profit organization. The training will ensure Huntington’s customers are fully prepared as they secure loans to start or grow their businesses.
Operation HOPE’s chief executive officer, John Hope Bryant, added:
“With a ladder of additional programming behind it — including our HOPE Financial Coaching and our online entrepreneurship program — it will make a difference for people pursuing their dreams in business.”