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Fifth Third Taps Accion To Reach More SME Borrowers

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Fifth Third Bank is focusing its SME lending reach through a new partnership with nonprofit lender Accion.

Reports late last week said the bank will work with SME lending portal Accion, a nonprofit company, to facilitate the financing of these companies across five states: Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio.

The collaboration will combine lending with overall support to the small businesses that seek financing and other resources to be successful, the companies said. According to Fifth Third, it also builds upon its existing efforts to reach out to small businesses via its five-year, $30 billion Community Commitment initiative, which includes $10 billion for small business lending and support.

Partnering with Accion will provide cash flow management and credit education to potential borrowers and overall coaching on how to run their businesses, as well as financing from $300 up to $1 million, according to a press release. Fifth Third recently found in its own survey that 80 percent of SMEs said they don’t take full advantage of the resources offered to help them grow, despite more than a third telling the bank that they do need help to grow revenue and profits.

“Small businesses create two out of every three jobs in the United States,” said Byna Elliott, senior vice president and director of Community and Economic Development for Fifth Third, in a statement. “They are essential to economic growth and development. This partnership with Accion allow us both to provide the needed resources to help small businesses increase capacity and spur job creation, resulting in stronger communities throughout the country.”

“Accion specializes in lending to early-stage businesses, and it has proven that the right combination of personalized advice and capital can produce outstanding results,” said Fifth Third Head of Business Banking Kala Gibson in a statement. “Whether it is through providing financing or connecting business leaders with community resources like Accion, Fifth Third is committed to supporting small businesses at every step of their growth journey.”

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