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Affordable Financing Program for Minority Business Owners

Bank Lead Bank
Location USA

The Civic Contractor Funding Program (CCFP) formerly known as the “For Change Initiative” is a one-of-a-kind partnership between Lead Bank and the City of Kansas City, Missouri that provides special financing for city contractors, who are oftentimes minorities.  Minority business owners who try to grow their business by seeking a piece of the large pipe line of City work frequently lack the cash flow and financial means to be able to begin work on those projects. In case after case, qualified businesses who meet the standards of the city certifications and can perform work for the city on the basis of their capabilities are unable to compete effectively because they cannot afford the materials or the staffing they need to add in order to begin. Because the City’s payment processes are conservative and careful, leading to long payment cycles, small businesses without independent financial resources often struggle to understand how they can perform work for the City.

In December 2015, stepping forward as the financial leader supporting small businesses, Lead Bank was thrilled to be announced as a first strategic partner with the City of Kansas City, Missouri.  Lead Bank proposed a novel financing arrangement to address this problem that could dramatically transform the multi-generational sustainability of small business – the Civic Contractor Funding Program was born.

Lead Bank provides simplified financing that dramatically reduces the paperwork for small businesses seeking to win and perform city contracts. Perhaps most important, the CCFP process looks beyond mere credit scores to understand the financial history of prospects.   Lead Bank recognizes that many qualified companies’ past financial challenges arise not from a lack of quality or integrity, but from their own vulnerability as small businesses to the payment practices of their clients.  Slow pay challenges many small companies and hurts their credit histories and future prospects.

Additionally, through Lead Bank’s work with the City of Kansas City, Lead Bank is proud to have been selected by Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate to provide financing to disadvantaged, women, minority and veteran-owned businesses to build the new Kansas City single-terminal airport.  Lead Bank will help Edgemoor, and the City of Kansas City, Missouri meet ambitious goals for subcontractor and supplier diversity in the construction of a new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

One of these business owners is Vince Stephens, owner of Axiom Construction Group.  He recognizes that “without the ability to acquire materials early and pay for accelerated manpower, we would not be able to perform at this high level on both projects.  We are extremely grateful for Lead Bank in understanding the sensitive nature of having resources available to allow a Minority Business Enterprise to operate in an environment like the new Kansas City airport.  We look forward to a long and profitable relationship with Lead Bank as we grow our company to be a viable and impactful part of the KCMO community and others,” says Mr. Stephens.

In total, the Civic Contractor Funding Program has provided almost $16 million in affordable financing for minority- and women-led businesses and continues to grow.  Lead Bank’s strong commitment to economic justice is what motivates the Bank to find innovative solutions to community problems.

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