Ahead of Memorial Day, the U.S. Small Business Administration announced it has secured a commitment from 120 banks to lend to more veteran entrepreneurs.
The SBA’s top 20 national lending partners and another 100 smaller, regional lenders in the U.S, have said they will increase their lending to veterans by 5 percent each year for each of the next five years. Wells Fargo, Bank of America and TD Bank are among those who have taken the pledge.
The SBA estimates that the pledge from banks will mean that roughly another 2,000 SBA-backed loans will be made to veteran entrepreneurs totaling approximately $475 million.
SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced the measure, called the SBA Veteran Pledge Initiative, from Fort Bragg, N.C. The effort to support veterans comes as federal programs have come under scrutiny for taking an unreasonably long time to get veterans their benefits.
Veterans are more likely than their civilian counterparts to start their own businesses, says the SBA. Currently, 9 percent of small businesses are veteran owned. The definition of a small business depends on the industry, according to the SBA. Those 2.45 million small-businesses owned by veterans employ upwards of 5 million people, the SBA says.
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