OneUnited Offers Business Loans - The Bay State Banner
OneUnited Offers Business Loans – The Bay State Banner
OneUnited offers business loans

Boston-based OneUnited and Lendistry offer small business lending services. PHOTO BANNER

OneUnited Bank, the largest black-owned bank in the country, is partnering with Lendistry, a black-run community development financial institution (CDFI), to offer small business loans to its depositors.

The partnership, announced on Monday, aims to help black entrepreneurs access capital to start and grow businesses. OneUnited Bank President Teri Williams said small business loans will help the bank better serve its customers.

“We’re really excited about this,” she said. “It’s something our customers ask for. We just didn’t have the in-house expertise.

Lendistry, founded in 2015 by CEO Everett Sands, was created to better serve businesses owned by people of color, women and others who have long struggled to obtain capital from traditional banks. When minority-owned businesses struggled to get Federal Payroll Protection Program loans during the 2020 lockdown, the internet-based lender found itself able to help.

“It was a call to action,” said Kerrington Eubanks, SVP of Strategic Partnerships for Lendistry. “We helped small businesses with what they needed most.”

The COVID crisis has helped propel Lendistry forward. the provided $8.5 billion in loans to more than 576,000 small businesses.

“We’ve gone from being a primarily in-state of California business to a nationwide footprint,” Eubanks said. “Most of this has happened in the last 24 months.”

Lendistry makes all of its loans online, allowing it to reach customers in all 50 states. Eubanks says the technology allows clients to upload all the necessary documents for Lendistry authors to review.

“It allows us to meet small business owners where they are,” she said.

The partnership with OneUnited will allow Lendistry to further expand its national footprint.

“We are extremely excited,” she said. “This is another step forward in deepening our relationship with OneUnited.”

OneUnited was founded in Roxbury in 1968 as Unity Bank & Trust Company. In 1995, when Williams and her husband, CEO Kevin Cohee, acquired the bank, it had changed its name to Boston Bank of Commerce. In 2001, the bank merged with the black-owned Founders National Bank of Los Angeles. The bank now has branches in Boston, Los Angeles and Miami.

Through Lendistry, OneUnited will provide business loans as small as $50,000 and as large as $5 million.

OneUnited previously partnered with Lendistry to co-host a conference, One Transaction, which highlighted the importance of taking action to build wealth – home ownership, fixing credit scores, profitability of businesses.

“We realized we needed to partner with organizations to help our community meet those needs,” Williams said. “We asked ourselves, ‘If we want to put our money where we are, what are we doing to help our customers?'”

OneUnited began working with Lendistry in 2020, to help bank customers with businesses obtain Payroll Protection Program loans. In the program’s first cycle, most loans went to large businesses whose owners had privileged relationships with big banks, leaving little room for black-owned businesses. In the second round, Lendistry stepped in to channel loans to smaller minority-owned businesses.

“We were really impressed with the way they handled client relationships,” Williams said. “We wanted to work with people who were sensitive to the needs of people in our communities. We feel we have found the right partner.

As for how many loans Williams expects OneUnited to make, she said there was no answer.

“Through this partnership, we actually have no limit,” she said. “What we hope is that we will be able to meet all the needs of our community.

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