Bank of America Announces $1 Million Program Related Investment and $100,000 Grant to ACCION USA
Funds will provide growth capital and operating support
December 13, 2005 , Charlotte – Bank of America today announced a $1 million program related investment in ACCION USA to expand the availability of loans for micro-enterprise. The investment will help ACCION increase its loan pool in three targeted markets—Boston, Atlanta and Miami. In addition, the Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced that it would provide $100,000 in operating support for the organization. The grant also will help ACCION market its new online loan application. ACCION USA is a leading provider of micro-enterprise loans—small or “micro” loans to entrepreneurs who often have difficulty gaining access to commercial bank lending.
“As a leader in community development, Bank of America recognizes the vital role that ACCION USA plays in supplying capital to entrepreneurs and small businesses in emerging and underserved markets,” said Paul Hinds, Bank of America Program Related Investments executive. “Through ACCION, Bank of America can help fledgling entrepreneurs begin to move from the margins toward self-sufficiency and prosperity.”
“We are excited about expanding our capacity and our new, online application and approval process that will make sorely needed capital available to small business people regardless of their physical location in the United States,” said Bill Burrus, president, ACCION USA. “These small loans—from $500 to $25,000—start and sustain businesses that increase incomes, provide economic opportunity and strengthen communities and economies.”
Bank of America Program Related Investments (known as PRIs) are part of the bank’s community development initiatives. The amounts invested represent part of the bank’s 10-year, $750 billion goal for community development. Unlike grants, PRIs are paid back at below-market interest rates. Because they represent below-market capital, PRIs can deliver a much needed boost to enterprises that might not otherwise be able to access resources for growth and expansion. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation grant represents part of a $1.5 billion goal over the next 10 years. As part of its strategy for “neighborhood excellence,” the foundation works to identify critical issues in local communities and direct resources to organizations which address those priorities.
ACCION USA is a private nonprofit organization that provides credit and business training to “microentrepreneurs” - low- and moderate-income self-employed women and men. ACCION USA was launched in 1991 by ACCION International, a world pioneer in microlending that now serves over 1.4 million active borrowers in 20 countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. ACCION USA’s goal is make access to credit a permanent resource to the millions of owners of small businesses in the United States. ACCION sees credit as a resource that can help to narrow the income gap and provide financial opportunities, fostering economic growth in distressed areas.
Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving 33 million consumer relationships with more than 5,800 retail banking offices, more than 16,600 ATMs and award-winning online banking with more than 13 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 150 countries and has relationships with 98 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 85 percent of the Global Fortune 500. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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