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REUTERS/Mike Blake

JPMorgan Chase has announced a $1 million contribution to loan programs for minority-owned, vulnerable small businesses in Queens and throughout the five boroughs. 

Partnering with three community development financial institutions – including Renaissance Economic Development Corporation which has offices in Queens – the bank is hoping to aid businesses that have been rocked by financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 crisis. 

“It was natural that during this crisis, we set up an emergency loan fund to immediately respond,” said Jessie Lee, the managing director of Renaissance. “The fact that JPMorgan was one of the first funders to step in and support this fund, this emergency fund is amazing.”

A study by JPMorgan found that 44 percent of small businesses in the New York metro area have less than 14 days cash buffer. In the time of the coronavirus, many small businesses are running – or have already run – out of funds. 

“Our commitment is to make sure that underserved communities are served and have access to capital products that can help them weather the storm,” said Jeanique Druses, a program manager at JPMorgan who helped secure the funding for the community development financial institutions. “That’s what we’ve done before this crisis hit and that’s what we’re committed to doing now, as well.” 

To distribute the funds, Renaissance and the other community financial institutions are looking to businesses they have partnered with in the past, as well as newer businesses located around their offices – Renaissance has two offices in Queens, one in Flushing and one in Jackson Heights.

Through Renaissance, small businesses that have lost 25 percent of their revenue because of the COVID-19 crisis can apply for a loan from the emergency fund. Businesses can get up to $50,000 with a 3 percent interest rate, with the first three months deferred. Businesses with 50 employees or less, located in Bayside, Flushing, Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, Murray Hill, Woodside or College Point, can apply. 

Funds like these are important for small businesses because even the most regular expenses can force a small business to close in a time like this. 

“They still need to pay rent. They still need to pay some of their employees,” Lee said. “This crisis happened to them so suddenly that they didn’t expect it. So, they really need the critical capital.”

The $1 million investment from JPMorgan Chase is part of a larger $8.5 million investment that will also go to small businesses in Chicago, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Seattle. Worldwide, JPMorgan Chase has committed to a $50 million investment into  businesses across the globe. 

To apply for a loan through Renaissance, visit their website here. 

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