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New Program Provides Affordable Working Capital Loans to Help Businesses Recover from the Pandemic

Wells Fargo Grants $2.1 Million to Boost MoFi’s Efforts to Help Businesses Pivot, Stabilize

 

MISSOULA, Mont. – As communities across the region continue to weather the effects of COVID-19, community development lender MoFi’s new Thrive loan program provides working capital loans with friendly repayment terms and attractive rates to help businesses that may have depleted their reserves due to the pandemic. MoFi piloted the Thrive loan program in November, and with the help of a recent $2.1 million grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund, the lender has made it even more accessible to small businesses. The Thrive program is expected to help up to 250 businesses across the region, with an estimated average loan size of $40,000. In addition, because Thrive loans support a variety of different uses, the program can help bridge any remaining capital needs for those who have already used all available government programs.

“We’ve designed the Thrive program to get flexible capital into the hands of businesses that urgently need it, and at the friendliest rates and terms we could offer,” said MoFi President Dave Glaser. “Through the Open for Business Fund, Wells Fargo acknowledges that affordable, accessible capital can have a transformative impact for disadvantaged business owners and those who have been hit hard by the pandemic. For businesses in Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming, this grant allows us to offer loans with two years of interest-only payments, with a reduced introductory interest rate of 3%. It’s our hope that businesses that were profitable prior to COVID can use Thrive loans to adjust operations and make it through to the other side of this crisis.”

The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on low-income business owners and business owners of color. With Thrive, MoFi is building on its commitment to reach businesses owned by, located in or serving low-income people and people of color, including Native American and Hispanic communities. One third of its Thrive loan funds are reserved for minority-owned businesses.

Created last year, Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund is providing grants to community lenders and nonprofits to help businesses respond to the challenges of COVID-19. Organizations use the funds to provide capital, technical assistance and long-term resiliency support. Wells Fargo says that Community Development Financial Institutions like MoFi are key to helping fuel recovery, especially in rural and economically underserved communities.

“Wells Fargo’s Open for Business Fund is another avenue of support and enlists the expertise of our CDFI partners at MoFi to urgently help the region’s entrepreneurs recover and preserve the jobs they provide in their communities,” said Michelle Banaugh, Wells Fargo Commercial Banking market leader. “The funding will funnel much-needed access to capital, equity in resources and technical assistance for local businesses who are the backbone of our local economies and neighborhoods.”

MoFi expects the Thrive loan to complement the relief businesses owners may access through the federal stimulus package, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program. Glaser said Thrive loans can be used for a wider variety of purposes that the PPP may not cover, allowing businesses to pivot their operations and even grow. “We’ve taken all we have learned about the unique challenges for business owners in this region, overlayed that knowledge with the current federal and state programs, and tried to build a loan product that bridges the gaps,” said Glaser.

Thrive is a solution for businesses that were profitable before the pandemic, but due to COVID-related circumstances, can’t access financing right now through banks and credit unions. Benefits of Thrive loans include:

  • Two years of low, interest-only payments to help businesses stabilize before making regular payments.
  • $2,500 in grant funding to cover loan closing fees and expenses for businesses.
  • Free COVID-19 response consulting services.
  • A fast, simple online application process.

To access MoFi’s Thrive loans, businesses must have been profitable in 2019 and must be located in Montana, Idaho, Oregon, Washington or Wyoming.

For more information about Thrive loans, to check eligibility and to apply, visit https://www.mofi.org/business-loan/.

Pictured: MoFi Client, Iron Barber owner Adam Day, with his mentor, Jack, in Boise, ID.