New York - Highlighting its strong commitment to help small businesses grow and succeed - especially during challenging times - Citi today announced a new partnership with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS). The goal of the partnership is to help New York City's small businesses and entrepreneurs obtain the technical assistance and financing they need to start, operate and expand. Citi Chief Executive Officer Vikram Pandit and Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Robert Walsh made the announcement today during a press conference at the NYC Business Solutions Center in Brooklyn.
“Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy and these businesses need a boost during these challenging economic times. Helping New York City's entrepreneurs get started, grow and thrive is a big part of our commitment to strengthening the communities we serve. This initiative is especially significant to Citi as New York City is home to our global headquarters and more than 20,000 of our employees,” said Pandit.
“We are grateful to have such a supportive and innovative partner in Citi - not only to help us expand the assistance we offer to help New York's small businesses thrive, but also to enrich and guide our own staff with their expertise,” said Commissioner Walsh.
Citi To Help More Businesses Establish Stability, Access Loans via SBS
Citi Community Development, which leads Citi's efforts to achieve economic empowerment and growth for underserved individuals, families and communities, will provide $385,000 in funding to the new partnership. These funds will go toward expanding and enabling NYC Business Solutions to help more customers in all five boroughs - particularly those with low to moderate incomes - with accounting and loan packaging assistance.
The primary challenge facing SBS in assisting small businesses is that many do not properly manage their bookkeeping records and cash flow. As a result of this inability to demonstrate fiscal stability, many of these businesses have trouble accessing financing. The funding from Citi will help address this issue by enabling a larger volume of businesses in New York City to receive one-on-one technical assistance to develop and manage the proper financial documentation.
New Skill-Based Volunteer Initiative to Pair Citi Mentors with SBS Account Managers
Also as part of the partnership with SBS, Citi will launch an employee skill-based volunteer initiative to provide mentorship and ongoing consultation between Citibank Small Business bankers or underwriters and NYC Business Solutions financing account managers. Under the new program, Citi will pair several qualified Citibank Small Business bankers with each NYC Business Solutions Center account manager to provide support on loan packaging and tax-related or financial projections issues, among others.
In addition, ACCION loan officers in New York City will be matched to Citi employees. ACCION is the nation's leading microfinance organization providing flexible loans (up to $50,000) and provides affordable alternatives to high-cost sources of capital, such as credit cards, factoring, or predatory lenders.
The program plans to gather all participants quarterly to discuss progress, measure the impact and benefits of the mentorship, and identify opportunities to provide more targeted assistance and training to NYC Business Solutions staff.
Under the new volunteer program, select Citi employees will also participate as panelists and advisors in Strategic Steps for Growth, an executive management training program for minority and women business owners, taught at New York University and managed by SBS.
Pandit, Citi Employees Volunteer For Global Community Day
Mr. Pandit also participated in mentoring sessions at SBS as part of Citi's fifth annual Global Community Day. More than 45,000 Citi employees are participating in 950 different activities across 75 countries as part this year's annual event. Citi employees are committed to being a global force for good in their communities. Many Citi employees volunteer year-round, but Global Community Day provides an annual opportunity to have company employees, along with their families and friends, come together as a global volunteer team.