Minority-Owned Businesses Just Got One More Funding Source
- OneUnited has partnered with Lendistry to provide minority-owned businesses with the loans they need.
- Business lending requires the tailored expertise that Lendistry is known for.
When one financial institution can't do it all, they partner with another to give their customers a bigger menu.
Today, OneUnited Bank announced a partnership with Lendistry, a minority-led and technology-enabled small business and commercial real estate lender.
Although OneUnited is the largest Black-owned bank in the country, it's been many years since it offered business loans. By partnering with Lendistry, the bank can now direct its business customers to a highly-respected business lender that's been around since 2015. In only seven years, Lendistry has supported 576,000 small businesses with $8.5 billion in small business loans and grants.
One business that might have benefitted from loans in the early days of the pandemic is Public Security, Inc. in Los Angeles, California.
Willie Simmons has managed Public Security since the business opened in 1999. He explains that the company provides armed and unarmed security patrols to "anyone, from small businesses to stores, HOAs, banks, and swap meets."
As COVID-19 shuttered businesses across the globe in 2020, Simmons was forced to lay off several of the company's 33 employees. Simmons said, "I've never seen anything like it in L.A., even during times of unrest."
As he waits for business to return to something approaching "normal," Simmons said Public Security might have benefitted from the types of loans available through OneUnited and Lendistry.
Why take on a partner?
Teri Williams, President and Chief Operating Officer of OneUnited Bank, says business loans can be tricky. "We offered them years ago but lost our shirt," Williams said. "We realized that it was an expertise that we didn't have. I'd put our expertise in real estate lending up against anyone, but business lending is different."
Williams is convinced that to be a good business lender, a financial institution needs expertise in businesses of all kinds. For example, if a customer needs a loan for a grocery store, the lender should have someone on board who knows the grocery industry inside-out and can provide the store owner with the insights and advice they need to be successful. At the time it offered business loans, OneUnited was too small to provide experts in every type of business.
The best of both worlds
And that's where Lendistry comes in. Williams met Everett K. Sands, CEO and President of Lendistry, two years ago as OneUnited was in the planning stage of hosting a virtual conference called "OneTransaction."
OneTransaction focused on closing the racial wealth gap and was open to anyone who wanted to attend. Speakers included Emmy award-winning actress and author Tiffany Haddish. It also featured superstars of the finance world, like Michelle Singletary, Daymond John, and Everett Sands.
It was then the idea of partnering was born. OneUnited had customers who needed business loans, and Lendistry had the experience and expertise to tailor loans specific to the business.
"We both said, maybe this is an opportunity to work together," Williams said.
In a trial run of sorts, OneUnited directed customers in need of PPP loans to Lendistry during the pandemic. It worked out beautifully for all parties. Everyone involved is expecting the same type of success as they move forward with business loans.
"This is a great opportunity," Williams said. "Lendistry specializes in small business loans for veterans, Blacks, women, and minorities of all types. They're experts in this space. Now, when a customer needs a business loan, we can connect them with that expertise."
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