**FILE** Magic Johnson (Courtesy of BlackAmericaWeb.com)

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) recently announced that the NNPA has agreed to assist the efforts of Earvin “Magic” Johnson, majority owner of EquiTrust, the nation’s largest minority-owned insurance company, and MBE Capital Partners (MBECP), the largest certified minority-owned asset-based lender, to fund over $100 million in PPP loans.

EquiTrust, MBECP and the NNPA together remain focused on informing and encouraging minority- and women-owned businesses throughout the U.S. to take advantage of the current PPP loan opportunities for businesses in underserved communities.

“I have the highest regard and respect for the entrepreneurial leadership and courage of Earvin Magic Johnson,” Chavis said. “The NNPA, therefore, is enthusiastic and pleased to assist Johnson’s EquiTrust and with MBE Capital to enhance the economic recovery of African-American- and other minority-owned businesses amid the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Our businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.”

Johnson’s EquiTrust provides critical financial support to underserved communities and businesses that have been traditionally neglected. These small and diverse businesses often have difficulty developing strong lending relationships with big banks. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, up to 90 percent of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the PPP program.

MBE Capital stands positioned to help small and diverse businesses take advantage of this latest round of PPP funding and remains an approved SBA lender with over 20 years of experience serving diverse and minority businesses. They can process up to 5,000 loans per day, utilizing end-to-end online technology to accept, underwrite and transmit the applications to the SBA. MBE Capital has already processed over $300,000,000 in PPP loans, including the EquiTrust partnership funding $100,000,000.

The NNPA is the nation’s largest trade association of African-American-owned newspapers and media businesses that reaches 22.4 million readers per week across the nation.

MBECP has also partnered with The Enterprise Center (TEC), a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), providing them with technology and resources to help them process over $100,000,000 in PPP loans. This will allow TEC’s CDFI to process more SBA loans in two weeks then they have in the past 10 years.

By working with EquiTrust, MBECP pipelines total over $500,000,000. MBE Capital is committed to providing vital funding for small businesses in underserved communities. With almost $100 billion left in the second round of PPP funding, it remains imperative that vulnerable small businesses are able to secure resources to sustain.

“This is a unique SBA-backed opportunity to use the vast resources of EquiTrust to prudently provide real and much needed cash to deserving minority- and women-owned businesses that find it difficult to secure such funding through traditional means,” said Eric Holoman, EquiTrust president/CEO. “The jobs saved will make a significant difference to their families and communities. Equitrust is excited to partner with MBECP to do this and more as we try to level the playing field for businesses that are the backbone of America.”

For more information or to apply for a PPL loan, go to https://mbeppp.com/go/nnpa and use loan referral code NNPA.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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