Citizens Bank adds $2M fund for first-time homebuyers, small businesses

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Nashville’s Citizens Bank, a Black-owned bank with a far-reaching legacy, announced a strategic partnership with The Healing Trust to offer $2 million in local small business loans and home mortgages.

The investment by the Healing Trust is one in a series of strategic partnerships made over the past several years to amplify the lending power and mission of Citizens Bank, which aims to build wealth and access to financial resources in the Black community and other marginalized populations in Middle Tennessee.

“This partnership with the Healing Trust is one of those situations where two organizations of like minds can come together,” Citizens Bank CEO Sergio Ora said. “And we can do more by working together.”

Foundation CEO: ‘We need to be investing in our own backyard’

The Healing Trust, a charitable foundation which awards grants to nonprofits in Middle Tennessee, rerouted the $2 million from traditional investment avenues to a series of deposits at Citizens. The money will be loaned out through several of the bank’s existing programs, like its first-time home buyers assistance programs and small business loans.

Kristen Keely-Dinger, president and CEO of the Healing Trust, said she anticipates this will be the beginning of a long-term strategic partnership between the foundation and the bank. She said she hopes more charitable foundations, independent investors, local universities with large endowments and others will consider entering a partnership like this one.

“We need to be investing in our own backyard, in our own neighborhoods, in our own communities as much as we invest in the stock market,” Keely-Dinger said. “We can have similar returns and then see the fruits of our investment in our own communities.”

What to know about accessing the funds

The partnership between Citizens and the Healing Trust comes on the heels of a similar investment by the Titans Foundation, which will deposit up to $2 million in funds specifically for a small business loan program and up to $5 million to power a loan program aimed at qualified housing developers seeking capital.

Citizens is a registered Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which means it is committed to expanding access to financial services in low-income communities and to people who lack access to loans and other capital.

The additional funds from the Healing Trust, Titans Foundation and other investors can be accessed by qualifying individuals seeking to get help purchasing their first homes, starting a small business or looking to build housing. Those interested in learning more about the bank’s loan programs can visit bankcbn.com.

“This is the most exciting time I’ve ever seen at the bank,” said Clint Story, who serves as the senior vice president of business relations at Citizens. Story has worked at the bank for more than 20 years.

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