National And Regional Leaders Advocate For A Big Small Business Funding Increase

April 7, 2023

Carver Federal Savings Bank joined U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at a press conference at Settepani Bakery, a minority woman-owned business in Harlem, NY.

She announce her support for $341 million in increased funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), $56 million for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) microloan program, and $10 million for SBA’s Growth Accelerator Fund in FY24 appropriations.

These federal programs, along with CDFIs, aim to expand economic opportunity for underserved people and communities by supporting the growth and capacity of a national network of community development lenders, investors, and financial service providers.

Senator Gillibrand was joined by: U.S. Small Business Administration District 1 Regional Administrator Marlene Cintron, who is responsible for New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; Settepani Bakery & Restaurant owner Leah Abraham; Pursuit Lending president and CEO Chris Levy; Brownstone Boutique owner Princess Jenkins; and Carver Federal Savings Bank President and CEO Michael Pugh, whose bank has been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department as a CDFI because of its community-focused banking services and dedication to the economic viability and revitalization of underserved neighborhoods.

U.S. Senator Gillibrand stated, “This money is here for growth, innovation, and entrepreneurism so communities like Harlem can continue to grow and thrive.” She added, “there are funds for those who cannot get a loan from the bank, and for established businesses they can get significant loans from the CDFI.”

In praising Senator Gillibrand for her leadership and advocacy for increasing funding to uplift underserved communities and disadvantaged businesses, Carver Bank President and CEO Michael Pugh said, “Carver has been in the Harlem community for 75 years and is still growing strong. CDFIs invest 60 percent of their funding within their area. Specific to Carver, which means the preservation of more than 5,000 jobs. Nationally, CDFI Banks are responsible for more than $120 billion in assets and make up the most critical part of supporting small businesses that have the greatest impact on the gross domestic product.” He added that, “Senator Gillibrand’s support for CDFIs is crucial in our efforts to provide economic opportunities that drive growth and sustainability of our nation’s GDP. With her help, we can continue to support small businesses, create jobs, and build stronger neighborhoods.”

“The Biden-Harris administration has asked us, over the past two years, to invest in and focus on small businesses and historically underserved businesses. This is not a small thing as small businesses provide over 50 percent of the jobs in the nation. Senator Gillibrand’s support for full funding for the Growth Accelerator, CDFIs, and Micro-Loan Program is needed to truly and really recover after the pandemic,” said Regional Administrator Cintron, representing the White House.   

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Nationwide, CDFIs have received over $2 billion in federal funding, and have leveraged an additional $14 billion in private investment. In New York State, CDFIs have loaned out over $1.5 billion to support small businesses and community development. These institutions provide access to capital for those who may not qualify for traditional financing, including women, people of color, and low-income individuals and communities.

Photo credit: 1-7) (L-R) Settepani owner Bilena Settepani: U.S. SBA Regional Administrator Marlene Cintron; Carver Bank President & CEO Michael Pugh; and Settepani co-founder and owner Leah Abraham.

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