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St. Louis bank agrees to fund PPP loans for minority businesses nationwide

"This was an easy call for Midwest BankCentre because serving all parts of our community is part of our mission"
Credit: SLBJ
Orv Kimbrough of Midwest BankCentre

ST. LOUIS — Midwest BankCentre is partnering with the National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. (NMSDC) to provide certified Minority Business Enterprises nationally with funding through the Paycheck Protection Program.

Dave Steward, chairman and founder of World Wide Technology in St. Louis, one of the largest minority-owned businesses in America, helped facilitate the deal.

World Wide Technology is the NMSDC's largest certified member. 

NMSDC recently surveyed 1,200 minority-owned businesses and found 60% had not yet received PPP loans they had applied for or had decided not to apply because they feared they would be denied.

“After receiving the survey results, I knew it was time for NMSDC to take care of our own and so I began making calls," said Adrienne Trimble, NMSDC president and CEO. "One of the first calls was to Dave Steward."

Steward, in turn, contacted Orv Kimbrough, chairman and CEO of Midwest BankCentre.

Kimbrough said, “This was an easy call for Midwest BankCentre because serving all parts of our community is part of our mission.”

Kimbrough discussed the program with the Business Journal.

What will this partnership mean for minority-owned businesses nationally? We anticipate acting as a partner and funding resource to help stabilize and sustain minority-owned businesses during this pandemic. As a bank with diverse leaders and staff who are well-versed in helping small business owners obtain PPP funding, we believe our experience will help minority applicants be successful in applying for PPP loans and for traditional business loans as well.

We hope this partnership will help the St. Louis region ensure that minority-owned businesses survive. Corporate St. Louis could organize in slightly different ways to give a hand up to this group. Supported with this PPP funding, we’ll be better able to unleash our collective creativity and work to generate success among all sorts of minority-owned businesses.

How many PPP loans do you expect to fund, and in what amount total? We know there is pent-up demand but cannot readily assess just how many applications we’re likely to generate or the anticipated amount. What we do know is that the U.S. Small Business Administration’s inspector general found in early May 2020 that the SBA did not provide guidance to lenders about prioritizing borrowers in underserved markets and therefore minority- and women-owned businesses did not receive the PPP loans as intended. The SBA also did not collect demographic data that would enable a thorough analysis. 

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