Durbin Meets with Chicago's Largest Microlender to Discuss Growing Small Business

[CHICAGO, IL] – Support for microfinance organizations that give small businesses and entrepreneurs access to credit will help spur our economic recovery and create jobs, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) said today at a meeting with officials from ACCION, Chicago’s largest microlender, and the owners of Gourmet Gorilla, an organic school lunch catering company that is one of ACCION’s fastest growing borrowers. ACCION provides credit and other business services to small business owners who do not have access to traditional sources of financing.


“Increased federal funding for microlending programs allows organizations like ACCION to extend credit to small businesses that are ready to expand if we can provide them with the seed money to start growing and hire more workers. Small businesses are the engine of this economy and the key to recovery,” Durbin said.


Durbin, who is the Chairman of the Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Appropriations Subcommittee, secured $25 million for microlending and $20 million for technical assistance grants to support microborrowers through the Small Business Administration (SBA) in the Fiscal Year 2012 omnibus appropriatons bill enacted last month.


The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund – which is also administered through FSGG – received $221 million in the FY12 omnibus. The CDFI Fund supports microlending to individuals and small businesses in addition to project-based financing in underserved areas. Many CDFIs participate in the SBA’s microloan program, including ACCION.


As a result of increased funding, ACCION will double its maximum loan amount in 2012 from $25,000 to $50,000 to help fill the growing gap between high quality small business borrowers and conventional lenders who no longer will provide loans to them.


ACCION Chicago is a part of the ACCION U.S. Network, the largest microfinance network in the United States. Since its founding in 1991, members have collectively lent $305 million to small business owners nationwide. ACCION Chicago has disbursed more than $19 million to over 2,500 clients since 1994. Last year, ACCION originated 301 loans in the Chicagoland area worth more than $2 million. From 2010 through the first three quarters of 2011, loans originated by ACCION have created or retained more than 1,000 jobs in Chicago.


For more information about ACCION Chicago’s small business loan products, visit www.accionchicago.org or call (312) 275-3000.