Charter Communications and the National Action Network said Monday that the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund has agreed to make a low-interest loan to Carver Bancorp, Inc. for $1.5 million to help minority and women-owned businesses.
Carver Bancorp is the holding company for Carver Federal Savings Bank, the largest publicly traded African and Caribbean-American managed bank in the United States. The investment represents the first stage of Charter’s previously announced commitment to invest $3 million directly in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) such as Carver, in partnership with NAN. In addition, Charter said it is making a $1 million long-term deposit in Carver as part of its pledge to support Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs). The $1.5 million in additional liquidity and the $1 million long-term deposit will enable Carver to increase its low-interest loan production to Minority- and Women-Owned Business Entrepreneurs (MWBEs).
“NAN’s partnership with Charter Communications to invest significant dollars in the Black community couldn’t come at a better time and will help ease the economic hits Black businesses have taken in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NAN founder and president, Reverend Al Sharpton in a press release. “I’m especially proud to launch this on the day we honor Dr. King because his fight for racial equality included pushing for an economy that fostered financial growth and empowerment for Black people. This investment and the vital low-interest small-business loans it will fund will continue NAN’s work to achieve economic equality and support Black businesses and Black entrepreneurs.”
The Spectrum Community Loan Fund was formed in February 2020 to help businesses in financially underserved communities within its 41-state footprint. So far it has invested about $16 million in low-interest loans across the country.
“Charter is an important part of the communities we serve and we are invested in their success across our footprint,” chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge said in a press release. “These investments in Carver, our continued partnership with Reverend Sharpton and NAN, and the $16 million being invested by the Spectrum Community Investment Loan Fund across the country, are making low-interest loans available to help strengthen diverse-owned small businesses and provide a lasting economic impact vital to the continued development and growth of these financially underserved communities.”
In addition to the $3 million being invested in CDFIs in partnership with NAN, the Loan Fund has previously announced $1 million CDFI investments in Pursuit Community Finance in New York, PeopleFund in Texas, the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI) in Ohio, Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp (WWBIC), the National Asian American Coalition in California, and Justine PETERSEN in Missouri, and committed $3 million to the National Urban Leagues’ Urban Empowerment Fund (UEF). Charter also provides each CDFI with a grant to fund technical assistance programs and professional training for small businesses to help establish sound business practices necessary for long-term growth.
“We are very pleased to establish a partnership with National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Charter Communications to support our mutual goal of economic recovery and growth with minority-led small businesses,” Carver Bancorp president and CEO Michael T. Pugh said in a press release.“ A $1.5 million cash commitment through a below-market-rate loan to our holding company and a $1 million long-term deposit at the Bank affords Carver the opportunity to continue supporting Minority and Women-Owned Businesses Entrepreneurs at a time when many businesses have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. On behalf of Carver and the communities we serve, I want to thank the National Action Network, Reverend Al Sharpton, and Charter Communications for this investment in MWBEs.”
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