LEND partners with Evanston bank to expand grants

Tyler Pager, Assistant Campus Editor

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Northwestern student-run nonprofit Lending for Evanston and Northwestern Development has partnered with Evanston’s First Bank & Trust to expand the organization’s loaning capacity.

As part of the partnership, the bank has invested $10,000 into LEND’s microfinance fund. LEND provides microfinance loans and training to small businesses in the Evanston community. Traditionally, LEND gives loans between $500 and $10,000 to Evanston businesses that do not qualify for bank loans due to insufficient assets or lack of credit. 

For future loans, half of the money will come from LEND’s funds and half will come from the bank. All interest generated from the loans will be reinvested into the fund. First Bank & Trust will not make any financial gains from the partnership.  

Since LEND was founded, it has loaned more than $27,000 to nine businesses.

Salil Gupta, president of LEND, said the agreement is a great opportunity for the group to increase its outreach.

“First Bank & Trust has been heavily embedded in the Evanston community for a long time,” the McCormick junior said. “They have been great community partners for Evanston entrepreneurs and to be able to get their help just solidifies LEND’s mission and goal and really shows people that we are really out there to help the community.”

On Saturday, LEND finalized its first contract that will use funds from First Bank & Trust to provide a $10,000 loan to Eco Greenergy Properties LLC. The company was contracted by Evanston to replace some windows in apartment buildings the city owns. The business specializes in environmentally-friendly construction and the owner of the company will use the loan to put a down payment on the windows, Gupta said.

Michael Corr, senior vice president of commercial banking at First Bank & Trust, said LEND’s connection to promoting Evanston served as a catalyst for the partnership.

“The fact that LEND is doing these microloans for businesses that are in Evanston is very attractive because we are always look to invest in the community,” he said. “An organization like LEND is able to reach the people in the community who we are not able to reach.”

Corr added First Bank & Trust will provide training sessions for NU students.

“We are also very interested in providing guidance and training to the students who are eager to learn more and participate in this program,” he said. “There’s a lot that we can teach the students about how the process works from the bank perspective and how it differs in some ways from what they are doing.”

Email: tylerpager2017@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @tylerpager