Vice President Harris on Monday announced $1.7 billion in grants for more than 600 community lenders to support small businesses, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, housing and commercial real estate as they seek to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
Harris announced the grants as part of the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, saying that the loans will go to support local lending institutions that primarily serve minority communities, which may be hesitant to seek out a loan from a bigger bank. She said that the lenders will not need to pay back “not even a dollar of this investment,” and noting that the awards are grants, not loans.
“These banks predominantly do business in overlooked and underserved communities,” she said. “They know these communities. They understand these communities. And in particular, most importantly, they know and see the capacity of these communities.”
Harris said that the grants will support smaller institutions that were affected by COVID-19, including 70 community lenders in Puerto Rico. Other lenders who will receive the grants include Community First Fund in Pennsylvania, PACE Finance Corporation in California and BankPlus in Missouri.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that the funds will help with the country’s economic recovery.
“These grant funds will be transformative for grantees that are building a more equitable, resilient economy, along with helping sustain our strong economic recovery” Yellen said. “These critical resources will allow mission-driven lenders to expand access to capital in financially underserved communities, which will help increase contributions to long-term economic growth.”