Wells Fargo has set a goal of lending $100 billion to small business owners over the next five years. The bank’s move reflects the industry’s efforts to funnel more capital into small businesses.
“Working with small business owners is one of the most important things we do at Wells Fargo. We know America needs small businesses to grow, add jobs and prosper for our economy to fully thrive,” Lisa Stevens, Wells Fargo’s head of Small Business, said in a statement.
Wells Fargo has lent more money to small businesses than any other bank in the country in each of the past 11 years. The San Francisco bank claims to be the No. 1 lender, based on dollar-volume, for the SBA’s 7(a) loan program over the past five years, as wells as the nation’s first lender to approve more than $1 billion in SBA 7(a) loans in a single year.
Wells Fargo also introduced Wells Fargo Works for Small BusinessSM, a broad initiative to deliver services and guidance to help small businesses grow.
“Wells Fargo Works for Small Business is our commitment to help small businesses in more ways than ever before. It encompasses the products, services and resources needed for small business owners to take the next step to reach their business goals,” Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo chief marketing officer, added.
Key elements of Wells Fargo Works for Small Business include WellsFargoWorks.com, an enhanced online resource that offers financial guidance on topics such as building credit, accessing capital, and sustaining growth. Another element is the Wells Fargo Works Project, an online video series – featuring the true stories of five small businesses working with Wells Fargo to achieve their business goals – and a contest for small business owners.
Under the Wells Fargo Works Project, eligible small business owners will have the chance to compete in a contest where five finalists each win $25,000 along with mentorship and tailored solutions for their business, and a $5,000 donation to a charity in their community.
To enter, business owners must submit up to a two and a half-minute video or 600-word essay responding to questions about their business. Twenty-five finalists will be selected to each receive $1,000 for their business. Five grand prize winners will then be selected from the 25 finalists. The contest runs from May 1 – June 30, and winners will be announced in September.