WELLS FARGO EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS, LENDS $184 MILLION TO HISPANIC BUSINESS OWNERS IN FIRST YEAR OF LATINO LOAN PROGRAM
SAN FRANCISCO — December 1, 1998
Wells Fargo announced today it has lent $184 million for some 8,900 loans to Hispanic small business owners nationwide, exceeding expectations in the first year of its $1 billion Latino Loan Program by ten percent.
In October 1997, Wells Fargo partnered with the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) to launch the Latino Loan Program to fund the growth of Latino businesses across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Under the program, Wells Fargo committed to lend $1 billion over the next six years.
"We are tremendously pleased with the success of the first year of the Latino Loan Program," said Edmundo Hidalgo, vice president of Wells Fargo. "We are ahead of schedule to meet our $1 billion commitment. We believe through this program that Wells Fargo is making a difference in reducing the historical barriers for the Latino community to secure credit for their small businesses."
The USHCC President and CEO, George Herrera, said, "Through our alliance with Wells Fargo, we are helping Hispanic business owners obtain access to credit. These loans are clearly having a positive effect and are fueling the growth of Latino small businesses across the country."
The Latino Loan Program was created as a result of findings from a 1997 Wells Fargo-sponsored study, Latino Owned Businesses: Access to Capital, that showed Latino business owners are far less likely than non-Latino business owners to have the business capital they need to fund their small businesses.
To qualify for a loan under the Latino Loan Program, small business owners must have been in business for at least three years; have a satisfactory personal and business credit history; be profitable; have an established business bank account; and not have declared bankruptcy in the past 10 years. Loans from $5,000 to $100,000 are available nationally and loans over $100,000 are available in the 21 states where Wells Fargo and Norwest have banking stores.
The loan application process is quick and hassle-free. Information about applying for the loan program can be obtained in either English or Spanish by calling 1-888-275-7245.
Wells Fargo pioneered direct lending to small businesses by telephone, fax and mail beginning in early 1995, when it launched its nationwide lending program.
Established in 1979, the USHCC is the largest organization in the U.S. that advocates the expansion and development of Latino businesses.
According to government data recently compiled by PCi Services, Inc. of Boston, Wells Fargo was the largest provider of loans to small businesses, including those in low and moderate income neighborhoods, in the country in 1997.
Wells Fargo & Company has been serving the financial needs of small businesses since 1852, when Wells Fargo agents operated banking and express offices during the California Gold Rush. Today, Wells Fargo is a $196 billion diversified financial services company providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through 5,836 stores and other distribution channels throughout North America.