Thursday, April 12, 2012

California Bank Eyes More Loans to Women and Minority Entrepreneurs

Women and minorities own nearly 30% of all the businesses in California but many can't get the bank loans they need to grow their firms.

California Bank & Trust in San Diego is aiming to change that — and bolster its own loan portfolio — with a new multi-pronged lending initiative targeting female and minority entrepreneurs.

The $10.9 billion-asset unit of Zions Bancorporation (ZION) has established a program in which its lenders will educate business owners on what they will need to qualify for loans and guide them through the loan process.

California Bank & Trust has dubbed the initiative T.E.A.M., which stands for Tools, Education, Access and Mentoring. It will kick off the program in Los Angeles Thursday at a business event sponsored by Latina Style magazine.

The initiative is geared toward all women- and minority-owned businesses, though the focus at Thursday's event will be on Latina-owned businesses.

Hispanic women in particular have become more entrepreneurial in recent years. According to U.S. Census data, Latinas own 30% of all businesses in the U.S. that are owned by minority women.

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