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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, February 6, 2012


NYC DEPARTMENT OF SMALL BUSINESS SERVICES ANNOUNCES SET OF INITIATIVES TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES ACCESS CAPITAL THROUGH PARTNERSHIPS WITH COMMERCIAL BANKS

Banks Commit to Referral Programs, Educational Initiatives, and Investments in Staff Capacity at City's NYC Business Solutions Centers


New York – The New York City Department of Small Business Services today announced an ongoing collaboration between the City and ten banks that will help connect small businesses to capital and other support services. The City's Department of Small Business Services has secured commitments from banks to support referral programs, educational initiatives, and financial investments to strengthen the services available to small businesses in need of capital. The participating banks, collectively known as the NYC Bank Advisory Council, include Banco Popular, Bank of America, Capital One, Carver Federal Savings Bank, Chase, Citi, HSBC Bank USA, Sovereign Bank, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo & Company. "Helping New York's small businesses get access to the talent, capital and other resources they need to thrive and expand is critical to Mayor Bloomberg's top priority -- getting New Yorkers back to work," Deputy Mayor Robert K. Steel said. "We are excited to partner with these ten banks to put their expertise and resources to work for small businesses and entrepreneurs in all five boroughs." "Small business owners are often telling me that one of their biggest challenges is accessing capital to start, operate or expand their businesses,‚ÄĚ said Small Business Services Commissioner Rob Walsh. "This collaboration not only helps us support more New York City small businesses through our services, but also makes our NYC Business Solutions staff more effective through the expertise and mentorship of the banks. We look forward to ongoing conversations between the City and the banks."

The NYC Bank Advisory Council was first convened in January 2011 to address the challenges and constraints in lending to small businesses in New York City, to identify opportunities to lend to more small businesses, and to develop and launch initiatives that would result in more small businesses getting the financing and services they need. The Council grew out of an existing partnership with Citi that was formed in 2010 with a $385,000 investment in staff capacity at the NYC Business Solutions Centers. Citi has committed to an additional investment of $200,000 in 2012. Throughout 2011, the Council collaborated to determine opportunities to increase access to capital for New York City small businesses in three ways: referrals, education, and innovation, and the group will continue to work together throughout 2012 to identify more opportunities for collaboration.

Banco Popular, Citi, HSBC Bank USA, Sovereign Bank, and TD Bank committed to refer customers in need of additional services to NYC Business Solutions Centers, which provide financing assistance, as well as courses on a variety of business topics, launch assistance, legal advice on contracts and leases, recruitment of new employees, assistance accessing government and energy incentives, employee training, assistance selling to government, and help navigating government rules, regulations, licenses and permits. NYC Business Solutions also refers clients that are well positioned for bank loans to the banks.

Regarding education initiatives, Capital One has already invested in credit analysis training for NYC Business Solutions staff. Capital One, Chase, HSBC Bank USA and Wells Fargo & Company have also trained NYC Business Solutions staff on their bank products in order to better assist businesses seeking capital. Banks have contributed to enhancing NYC Business Solutions course content and training materials, which are available for free to New Yorkers. In addition, Wells Fargo & Company has committed funds to create an online version of an NYC Business Solutions course, Business Financing Roadmap. Banco Popular has committed funds to translate four of the most popular NYC Business Solutions courses into Spanish. Banks have also helped compile and launch a resource list of banks' available online tools, which can be found at www.nyc.gov. The Council is also helping define creative solutions to address unmet credit needs among unique small business segments critical to the city's economy, such as construction contractors, restaurants, and export companies. Resources have been committed to help create custom educational materials and services catering specifically to these sectors. The Council will also work on creating greater access to federal programs that facilitate small business lending. In 2011, NYC Business Solutions Centers connected business owners to nearly $39 million in capital through over 800 financing awards, of which 45 percent were with alternative lenders, 29 percent were with banks, 18 percent were with credit unions and 8 percent were with other types of lenders. This is a 25% increase from 2010.

About the NYC Department of Small Business Services The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) makes it easier for businesses in New York City to start, operate, and expand by providing direct assistance to business owners, fostering neighborhood development in commercial districts, and linking employers to a skilled and qualified workforce. For more information on all of SBS' services go to nyc.gov.



  Contact: Merideth Weber, SBS, 212-513-6318 / mweber@sbs.nyc.gov  

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