Funding for US Small Businesses: Bank of America Provides Financing to Veteran Loan Fund

Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is seeding a second round of financing for Veteran Loan Fund, doubling a two-year-old commitment that has already funded more than 500 small businesses built by former military personnel that “have created or retained more than 3,000 jobs across 37 states.”

The fund’s first $15 million round, “closed in 2022, was deployed in less than 12 months.”

The Veteran Loan Fund is “a national collaborative of a growing number of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and specialized veteran service organizations providing responsible capital and technical assistance to underserved veteran entrepreneurs.”

The fund offers an online platform “that connects military veterans and their spouses with mission-focused lenders and education partners to help them build and sustain small businesses.”

Eligible veterans reportedly benefit “from below market rate funding and free business coaching.”

Dan Letendre, head of CDFI Lending at Bank of America, said:

“Many veterans have the drive, discipline and leadership skills to fuel small business growth but lack the funding or network to help them grow. We have seen the benefits of low-cost capital in catalyzing entrepreneurship and are pleased to continue to support this work.”

Grant Bennett, Director of Veteran Programs and Operating Manager of the Veteran Loan Fund, said:

“Access to responsible capital is a key issue for military veteran entrepreneurs. Now is the time to scale our impact within the veteran business community. We can only do this through the work of our CDFI partners and support of organizations like Bank of America.”

The Veteran Loan Fund plans to gro”w to $100 million across the nation by 2027, an amount equal to the estimated annual demand for capital from veteran entrepreneurs who lack any funding for their businesses.”

Its first $15 million round, fully deployed “in less than 12 months, was made possible by a $5 million commitment of long-term, below market rate lending capital from Bank of America as lead investor in 2021, along with support from other major institutions.”

In this round, Bank of America will “provide $10 million in support of the new $25 million fund.”

Bank of America is “the largest investor in CDFIs, with $2 billion in financing to more than 260 CDFIs across all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.”

Veteran Loan Fund

Member CDFIs currently “include: Access to Capital For Entrepreneurs (GA), Appalachian Community Capital (VA), Black Business Investment Fund (FL), Business Impact Northwest (WA), Colorado Enterprise Fund (CO), Dream Spring (NM), Economic and Community Development Institute (OH), Pathway Lending (TN), Justine Petersen (MO), PeopleFund (TX), Pursuit (NY), and Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation (WI).”

Specialized technical assistance partners “include: Bunker Labs, Vet Met, Vet to CEO, as well as local partnerships with Veteran Business Outreach Centers, SCORE and SBDCs.”

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