For Immediate Release
Hancock Foundation’s Small Business Loan Program Gets Boost from Peoples Bank
Contact: Tish Williams, Ex. Dir. Hancock Chamber and HCCDF
Phone: (228) 467-9048
In October, The Peoples Bank joined forces with the Hancock County Community Development Foundation (HCCDF) in a project that could eventually make over a million dollars in loan capital available to small businesses in the area.
The HCCDF was formed by the Hancock Chamber after Katrina to serve as a funding conduit for community development projects. This particular foundation program seeks to fill a market niche where the community is underserved by traditional lenders. To obtain access to federal Department of Treasury’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds, the foundation is required to obtain official certification as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). The foundation’s recent alliance with Peoples Bank represents a major step in that certification process.
Mike Chapoton, loan officer for HCCDF, explains that the foundation has been laying the groundwork for the program since 2009, beginning with the HCCDF sponsored Job Generation Fund. The Job Generation Fund loan portfolio will now be matched with capital from the People’s Bank, which has joined HCCDF as a local community banking partner.
“These combined funds will allow the foundation to leverage a capitalization of up to a million dollars from the EDA,” said Chapoton. “The foundation will then be able to loan that money to small businesses in our target area – which includes the three coastal counties and Pearl River County.”
Tish Williams, Executive Director for both the Hancock Chamber and HCCDF, is enthused about the progress of the program.
“We are fortunate to have Mike Chapoton, with over thirty years of lending experience, to manage this program,” says Williams. “And we welcome Peoples Bank as the first of our community banking partners.”
Mike Chapoton is also pleased about the new alliance with Peoples Bank. “Peoples Bank is a long time community leader,” says Chapoton. “It’s an honor to go forward with them in this project, one that has the potential to attract new businesses and stimulate existing ones.”
In a letter to the board of HCCDF affirming the bank’s commitment of support, Chevis Swetman, Peoples Bank CEO, pointed out that the foundation has “a good track record in delivering technical assistance and non-traditional lending assistance in the area to small businesses.”
The loans will be made available to start-up or existing businesses and can be used for working capital, equipment or real estate purchases. The foundation is working to have the certification process complete and the loan program operational sometime in the middle of 2012.