Justine Petersen Secures $ 200,000 from JPMorgan Chase for Small Loans | Economic news


Justine Petersen, one of the region’s leading micro-lenders, hopes a $ 200,000 investment from JPMorgan Chase will help small minority-owned businesses north of Delmar.

The investment will continue to help the local nonprofit in its efforts to help small business owners with credit building resources, as well as provide access to secure and affordable loans.

Galen Gondolfi, communications director for Justine Petersen, said this was one of the many obstacles facing minority business owners.

“Many companies fall prey to predatory rates and high interest rates [for] small business loans, which are prevalent on the Internet, as well as in physical operations throughout the St. Louis area, ”said Gondolfi.

Lack of access to entrepreneurial mentorship and market opportunities also creates barriers for entrepreneurs of color. But the nonprofit has strived to create a path for change with its initiative.

Gondolfi said it starts with access to capital.

Justine Petersen’s process is similar to that of banks and credit unions. Business owners can apply for a loan at the association’s office, provided they have a business plan and financial documents such as tax returns and bank statements. An underwriting committee then reviews the loan and, if approved, lends the money.

“Every lending activity at Justine Petersen, every loan, is also an opportunity to build credit, both personal credit for this small business owner as well as business credit,” said Gondolfi. “We’re looking at it from an asset building standpoint, and that’s that we’re not just deploying capital. “

According to a 2017 Federal Reserve Bank report, more than 50% of black business owners have been denied bank loans. This is in comparison with nearly 25 percent of white business owners.

Erika Wright, vice president of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase, said these kinds of disparities only deepened the racial divide. A key way to close the racial wealth gap is to support small minority-owned businesses, she said.

“We are thinking about how these communities will ultimately benefit from this economic boom,” Wright said. “And we not only want small businesses to be able to open, but we want you to be able to grow and prosper. “

In a statement, Pamela Blair, co-owner of EyeSeeMe African American Children’s Bookstore, said investments like this are critical.

“These types of services for small businesses are urgently needed, especially for businesses operating in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods,” Blair said.

Prior to the partnership with JPMorgan Chase, Justine Petersen had deployed nearly $ 35 million to 3,000 different businesses north of Delmar over the past 10 years, Gondolfi said.

For more information, visit www.justinepetersen.org.

Follow Marissanne on Twitter: @ Marissanne2011.

Reprinted with permission from news.stlpublicradio.org.

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