CHARLES TOWN – The Bank of Charles Town, along with three other community banks in the Tri-State area, announces the launch of the Banking on Diversity initiative, a minority business finance program aimed at improving and developing local communities.
In addition to the Jefferson County-based BCT, the Bank of Clarke County, Fauquier Bank and First Bank are also joining a partnership to help provide needed funds to minority-owned businesses in their areas.
A press release issued by the banks says that the banks have collectively pledged up to $ 1 million in interest-free loans to help small start-ups and existing minority-owned small businesses with sponsor bank markets.
Bryan Decker, senior vice president and director of marketing and communications at BCT, explained that every business applying for a start-up loan or loan for an existing business must be a for-profit business and 51% owned and operated by a minority as defined by the minority company and must have certification in that organization.
To be considered a minority-owned business, the business must be 51% owned and operated by one or more minority individuals who are US citizens or legal resident aliens – or – 51% of the shares of a corporation, partnership or LLC or other entity and owned by one or more minority persons who are U.S. citizens or legally resident aliens, and the day-to-day management and operations of business are controlled by one or more persons belonging to a minority.
The MBE defines minorities as women and members of suspected groups, including, generally speaking, black Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and people of Asian-Pacific or Asian descent from the sub-region. continent.
“Our CEO, Alice Frazier, along with the heads of the other banks, felt they had to do something to help these minorities,” Becker said.
Businesses applying for loans must adhere to the guidelines to be considered for loans. The companies must currently be in business, Decker explained.
Those seeking seed funding must be in business for at least three months and up to two years. Businesses falling into this category can qualify for an unsecured loan of $ 10,000. For businesses that have been in business for more than two years, loans of up to $ 50,000 can be obtained, also unsecured, by minority owners.
Qualified businesses can only apply for one of two types of loans, start-up or existing business, and must be located in Berkeley or Jefferson counties in West Virginia; Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Shenandoah, Warren or Prince William counties or the city of Winchester in Virginia; or Washington County in Maryland.
“The loans come from community banks and are not guaranteed by any other agency,” Decker explained, adding that local banks take the financial risks when granting loans.
The Banking on Diversity program is open for applications, and those who wish to apply can do so by visiting the website of a banking partner or a local branch of their choice. While it is not mandatory that business owners apply in a specific area, it is recommended that they apply to a partner bank in their geographic region.
The websites for each of the banks are: Bank of Charles Town www.mybct.bank; Clarke County Bank at www.bankofclarke.bank; Banque Fauquier on www.tfb.bank; First bank in www.fbvirginia.com.