Toronto-based TD Bank Group has launched a new program to provide equitable access to financing, support and financial education for Black-owned businesses.
The banking group’s Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program will offer dedicated support and resources to Black business owners, via specialised account managers and Black customer experience regional teams.
According to research conducted by Abacus Data and commissioned by the African Canadian Senate Group and Nova Scotia Independent Senator Colin Deacon in 2021, 76% of Black entrepreneurs said they felt race made it harder to succeed, and identified access to funding, financing, and capital among their top challenges.
As part of the bank’s program, an enhanced credit review process will provide a “holistic view” of an applicant’s credit application and, where necessary, a secondary review will be undertaken by a specialised credit review committee at the bank.
TD’s Black Customer Experience Team will be on hand to make connections and introductions between Black entrepreneurs and organisations that TD supports via funding, such as the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF), the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE) and other regional organisations.
Al Ramsay, vice president, 2SLGBTQ+ and Black customer segments at TD Bank Group, said the bank is supporting Black communities by helping to remove obstacles when it comes to loan access, wealth management and specialized advice.
“Through our Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program, we’re thrilled to offer holistic support to Black-led businesses, including flexible access to credit, regional teams of specialized account and small business managers, as well as resources within our ecosystem of affiliated organizations,” Ramsay added.
Businesses eligible for the program include those that are 50% or more Black-owned.
Back in September 2021 TD Bank, which is the sixth largest bank in North America by assets, announced a $10 million five-year commitment to BOF.
At the ‘Banking on Financial Inclusion’ Conference at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi on 7 February, the US Federal Reserve’s vice chair for supervision Michael Barr spoke about the “significant and troubling disparities in lending outcomes for Black individuals and businesses relative to others”.
Barr said: “The Federal Reserve System’s Small Business Credit Survey has found that over many years, Black-owned businesses reported more significant credit access challenges, including feeling discouraged from applying for credit, being denied credit, and being approved for less than the amount they originally applied for, compared to other business owners.”