Small Business Administration Director Karen Mills announced the national SBA Veterans Pledge Initiative Monday at Fort Bragg, NC. KeyBank National SBA Manager John Moshier attended the ceremony.
At the ceremony, KeyBank accepted a US Small Business Administration challenge to increase SBA-backed loans to small business owners who are veterans.
The Veterans Pledge Initiative is part of Operation Boots to Business, an SBA program that trains veterans in business entrepreneurship. The SBA wants to increase the number of veteran small business owners by 2,000 over the next five years. KeyBank and other participating banks are challenged to increase the number of loans to veteran small business owners by 5 percent each year for the next five years.
“We are honored to take part in the Veterans Pledge Initiative, which we believe will help many military veterans attain their post-service ambitions,” Moshier said.
In 2012, KeyBank made 52 loans totaling $21 million to veteran-owned small businesses.
The Veterans Pledge Initiative is similar to the 2011 small business lending initiative in which 13 national banks committed to loan a total of $20 billion to small business owners by 2014. KeyBank pledged to loan $5 billion, and fulfilled that obligation two years ahead of schedule.
“Our service men and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of SBA’s highest priorities,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said.
“Through this partnership with national lending partners and regional and community lenders across the U.S., we stand ready to serve veteran entrepreneurs with loan-guarantees, entrepreneurial training, and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive the local economy and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”