Citizens Bank is giving the Economic Community Development Institute (ECDI) a $1 million line of credit to help finance loans to new and expanding businesses. ECDI provides loans between $500 and $350,000 to business owners and entrepreneurs trying to start or grow their businesses who might otherwise not be able to secure a loan.
ECDI's Cleveland office will receive the majority of the money, says Eric Diamond, executive vice president of ECDI Cleveland. “We will have a little more than 50 percent in this area because our loan volume is pretty high,” he says. “We expect to see a 30 percent increase in loan volume this year over last year.”
ECDI and Citizens have regularly worked together on securing loans for ECDI clients and have formed a good relationship, Diamond says . ECDI works with the SBA in addition to a variety of banks when funding a loan.
“Without us getting funding, we couldn’t fund other people,” says Diamond, adding that their average loan is about $25,000.
ECDI, which also has offices offices in Columbus, Toledo and Akron, is the fourth largest SBA micro-lender in the United States and a U.S. Treasury-designated Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). Since the organization was started in Columbus in 2004, ECDI has assisted over 5,000 entrepreneurs, loaned over $25 million to over 1,200 businesses, and created and retained over 4,500 jobs across the state.
The Cleveland ECDI office alone has funded approximately $5.3 million to more than 130 businesses since it started in 2012. “Citizens really understands CDFIs and they’ve spent a lot of time with us,” says Diamond. “They really know business and they are a class act to work with.”