FirstBank Partners with Gates Family Foundation to Supply $25 Million to Underserved Businesses

Loans Focused on Women-Owned and Businesses of Color Helped Save Approximately 10,000 Jobs

Lakewood, Colorado, UNITED STATES


LAKEWOOD, Colo., June 29, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- FirstBank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks with a focus on “banking for good,” partnered with the Denver-based Gates Family Foundation (Gates) to provide $25 million of pandemic-related SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds to three local nonprofit lenders to support the smallest, most underbanked businesses in Colorado, including: businesses of color, low and middle income, veteran, rural and women-owned businesses. 

FirstBank provided two $12.5 million lines of credit, totaling $25 million, to Gates, which helped supply PPP funding to three community development financial institutions (CDFIs): DreamSpring, Colorado Lending Source and Colorado Enterprise Fund. As a result, the three CDFIs have:

  • Made 2,200 PPP loans, averaging $30,000 each
  • Saved approximately 10,000 jobs in Colorado
  • Disbursed 80 percent of loans to women-owned businesses and businesses of color

“Strengthening the communities we serve is a big part of what FirstBank stands for,” said Jim Reuter, CEO of FirstBank. “We’re pleased to partner with Gates to help alleviate the severe impacts COVID-19 has had on small businesses, who may have otherwise struggled to secure funding. These organizations are the backbone of our cities and towns, and we’re glad we can do our part to help keep their lights on.”

In addition to its partnership with Gates -- and in an effort to assist more diverse owned businesses -- FirstBank connected with Asian, Hispanic, Black/African American Chambers of Commerce throughout its trade areas in Colorado, Arizona and California, and offered to help members access PPP funding, regardless if the business was a FirstBank customer. In total, FirstBank supplied over $1.5 billion in PPP loans to more than 15,000 businesses.

“Working with FirstBank enabled the Gates Family Foundation to maximize outreach to small businesses and communities hardest hit by the pandemic,” said Sue Dorsey, Senior Vice President for Finance, Administration, and Impact Investing. “Our partnership demonstrates the real power of FirstBank’s ‘banking for good’ philosophy, which centers on using its business model to help strengthen and improve lives.”

Throughout the pandemic, the bank contributed well over $600,000 towards economic recovery and emergency relief efforts, including $500,000 towards the Larimer County Small Business Recovery Fund, $75,000 to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund and $50,000 to Make4Covid, which delivered well over 80,000 pieces of PPE to essential workers.

To learn more about how FirstBank is helping to build resilient businesses and communities in your area, visit https://efirstbankblog.com.

About FirstBank

FirstBank began providing banking services in 1963. Today, it’s known as an industry leader in digital banking and has grown to be one of the largest privately held banks in the United States, maintaining more than $25 billion in assets and 110 branch locations across Colorado, Arizona and California. FirstBank offers a variety of consumer deposit accounts, home equity loans, mortgages, rental property loans and a full range of commercial banking services, including business financing, commercial real estate loans, treasury management and more. Since 2000, FirstBank has been recognized as a top corporate philanthropist, contributing nearly $75 million and thousands of volunteer hours to charitable organizations. The company is also unique in that a large portion of its stock is owned by management and employees, giving employees a financial stake in the bank’s success through its Employee Stock Ownership Program. For more information, visit www.efirstbank.com.

About Gates Family Foundation

Gates Family Foundation is committed to advancing long-term quality of life for all Coloradans, through support for educational equity, vibrant and sustainable communities, and stewardship of our state’s extraordinary natural resources. Gates is one of Colorado’s oldest private foundations, having committed more than $435 million to philanthropic activities since 1946.

 

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