Effective July 1, Lancaster-based Community First Fund is forming a partnership with FINANTA, a community development financial institution in Philadelphia, that officials say will allow them to have a greater economic impact across their combined 20-county region in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware.
Combined assets between the two community development financial institutions, which will be organized as a single entity under the name Community First Fund, will total $101 million, and $129 million by 2024, Community First Fund officials said in a Tuesday announcement.
“Working with FINANTA as a partner in Philadelphia has made it clear we can achieve much more in the market when we join forces,” said Daniel Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund. “Together we are stronger, and our combined resources can only increase the number of businesses and nonprofits we can serve in the future.”
As community development financial institutions, Community First Fund and FINANTA offer flexible lending opportunities to small businesses they say are underserved in financial services. However, there is little overlap between the array of products the two institutions offer, allowing them to complement each other’s programs.
During the coronavirus pandemic, the institutions have worked together to close nearly 300 Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program loans, providing approximately $15 million in emergency loans to small businesses who struggled to achieve financing at other lending institutions, Community First Fund officials said.
“As we watch the economic challenges stemming from COVID-19 unfold, we are deeply committed to helping businesses that historically have been unable to access sufficient capital – small businesses owned by low-income people, people of color and women,” Betancourt said in a statement.