The loan process for Bronx small businesses will get a little easier, thanks to a $50,000 donation from Citibank to the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
On Wednesday, July 27, representatives from Citibank made the grant official by presenting a check to BOEDC president Marlene Cintron at the organization’s office in the Bronx County Courthouse building.
The funds will be used to hire a full-time credit analyst who will work with Bronx small business owners through the loan application process.
“What this means is that we’ll be able to speed up the process for getting loans,” Cintron said.
Not only will the new hire be able to make the loan process easier for business owners, but he or she will also advise on how much capital to borrow, or even advise against borrowing all together.
“The new hire will be able to analyze data and advise businesses on what would be a viable amount that can be repaid over time and not burden the businesses,” Cintron said.
Cintron said that Michael Nixon, formerly the Zerega Industrial Improvement Zone coordinator, has already been tapped for the job. Loans will mainly come from three government sources: the New York Empowerment Zone, the Business Initiative Corporation of New York and the Empire State Development Corporation.
Citibank has worked extensively with BOEDC over the years, but according to Edward Odom, the bank’s vice president of community development for much of the New York City area, this most recent donation is more substantive than previous ones.
“We’ve refocused what we do,” Odom said. “So instead of supporting fairs and things of that sort, we wanted to support the organization with something more tangible that could generate better results.”
Odom and his colleagues at Citibank reached out to Cintron this spring and asked her to come up with some ideas how to use the money. They liked the credit analyst plan the most. Odom said that access to credit is the biggest challenge he sees facing small businesses, not just in the Bronx, but city-wide, an issue that has improved “somewhat.”