CHICAGO, July 19, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago today announced that Accion Chicago, a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) supporting small business in the Chicagoland area, has been named a partner of the Community First® Fund and is the recipient of a $1.25 million, 10-year loan. The Community First Fund is a $50 million revolving loan fund that provides direct support to CDFIs, community development loan funds, and state housing finance agencies serving Illinois and Wisconsin.
"Accion Chicago equips small business owners with access to credit and one-on-one coaching, helping them generate jobs and build their local economies – exactly the goals we're working toward with the Community First Fund," said Suzi Thackston, Community Investment Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago. "We're pleased that the lower-cost, longer-term financing we provide will help Accion expand services to low-income communities throughout Chicagoland."
Since 1994, Accion Chicago has made $37 million in small business loans to more than 4,600 locally owned businesses. The organization will use the Community First Fund loan to grow its Small Business Development Program, which extends credit to local entrepreneurs with an emphasis on long-term loans provided through the Small Business Association (SBA) Community Advantage Program. Community First Fund financing will support entrepreneurs' efforts to generate income, become bankable, build assets, and create lasting economic vitality in their neighborhoods.
"This partnership with the Community First Fund will help us meet the growing demand for small business loans in Illinois," said Jonathan Brereton, CEO, Accion Chicago. "By providing loans up to $100,000 to qualified borrowers, we fill a gap in the credit market. Without Accion, and the support of the Community First Fund, many of the region's budding entrepreneurs and promising start-ups would be pushed toward predatory lending companies or stranded without access to credit."
For more information about the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago and the Community First Fund, please visit www.fhlbc.com or @FHLBC. "Community First" is a registered trademark of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.