The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) assessed a $500 million penalty against Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. "and ordered the bank to make restitution to customers harmed by its unsafe or unsound practices." (Freddie Allen/AMG/NNPA)

Wells Fargo has awarded a $13.5M grant to the Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) initiative, a consortium that addresses the critical lending and wealth gaps faced by Black entrepreneurs and families in the U.S. The transformative donation will provide $10M in seed funding for a $78M Black Vision Fund.

The Fund will approve and disburse loans and grants to help create economically vibrant and revitalized Black communities across the United States. EBBC will alsoenable its seven CDFI members to provide immediate support to Black-owned businesses in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Deep South and Midwest regions that are distressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This support from Wells Fargo will act as a catalyst for expanding economic opportunity for black communities,” said Bill Bynum, chair of the EBBC and CEO of Hope Enterprise Corporation. “In these unprecedented times, when trillions of dollars are being invested in economic stimulus, we must proactively invest in Black-owned businesses to prevent further widening of — and, eventually, close — the centuries-old racial wealth divide.”

CDFIs have a strong track record of providing capital and financial counsel to minority-owned small businesses and underbanked communities. Often, these community-based institutions, certified by U.S. Treasury, step in when entrepreneurs are not able to access traditional financial institutions. They foster growth for businesses, advance social mobility for families and spawn thriving communities. 

“We are proud to partner with the Expanding Black Business Credit initiative to provide resources for Black-owned small businesses and Black communities, especially in this pivotal moment for our country,” said Jenny Flores, head of small business growth philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “CDFIs play an integral role in meeting necessary capital needs in communities that have the greatest promise and potential. By donating the grossprocessing fees from the Paycheck Protection Programback to the small business community, we aim to offer grants like this one as a catalyst for economic recovery, especially for those hardest hit by the pandemic. ” 

One key to closing the racial economic opportunity gap – and ending the persistent divide between Black and White Americans – is strengthening Black entrepreneurs, who play an outsized role in building stability and bolstering employment in Black communities. In 2019, 2.6 million Black-owned businesses supported 3.56 million jobs, generating $150 billion in revenue. Forty to 50% of the employees of these small businesses are Black. 


Through its business, Wells Fargo supports more than 150 CDFIs of all sizes across the country, providing tailored investment and debt strategies to support CDFIs’ efforts in both rural and urban communities to finance affordable housing, community facilities, and small and micro businesses.


About Expanding Black Business Credit (EBBC) Initiative 

Formed in January 2016, EBBC’s mission is to create thriving business ecosystems that strengthen Black-owned small businesses, Black-led nonprofits, and the seven Black-led/focused CDFIs that help them succeed. EBBC leverages its collective power to reduce systemic barriers and scale access to critical resources — money, management education, and markets — needed to accelerate Black business growth and development. The network of seven CDFIs includes Black Business Investment Fund, City First Bank, Community First Fund Pennsylvania, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Credit Union, MEDA, National Community Investment Fund and Texas Mezzanine Fund.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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