Financial success for Wells Fargo customers and their businesses starts with the success of local communities. The company is strengthening economic opportunities in underserved communities by championing safe, affordable homes; opening economic pathways; helping small businesses to thrive; and accelerating a just transition to a low-carbon economy to help build a more inclusive, sustainable future for all.
In taking a closer look at small businesses, which have been particularly hard hit during the pandemic, Wells Fargo has mobilized its business and its resources to support customers and communities.
In 2020, the bank helped approximately 194,000 small businesses receive Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funding, totaling $10.5 billion, with 84% of the loans going to businesses with fewer than 10 employees, and an average loan size of $54,000. More than two in five of the loans originated went to small businesses located in low-to-moderate income or majority-minority census tracts.
To amplify the work Wells Fargo did through PPP in 2020, they launched an industry-leading Open for Business Fund, deciding to voluntarily donate approximately $400 million in fees from the government for administering PPP back to the small business community – without subtracting any of its costs or expenses. The company aims to help as many small businesses as possible stay open and recover.
The Open for Business Fund is a unique three-year approach and has three areas of focus: providing capital for loans and payment relief through nonprofit financial institutions, enabling nonprofits to provide technical assistance and training, and capitalizing longer-term resiliency programs designed for small businesses. In 2020, the Open for Business Fund had already distributed more than $84 million to Community Development Financial Institutions helping small business owners hard-hit by the pandemic, including Black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, and Native American, among other business owners, which are closing at a faster rate than the industry. This collaboration is already making an impact – an estimated 50,000 small business jobs will be protected in local communities by 16,000 small business owners such as JC Lofton Tailors in Washington D.C. and Dija’s Touch Designs in Arizona, among many others.
In addition, the company recently announced investment in six Black-owned banks as part of its $50 million pledge to grow Minority Depository Institutions, which provide small business loans, mortgages, and consumer lending. As part of the capital investment, the banks will have access to a dedicated Wells Fargo relationship team that will provide financial, technological, and product development expertise in order to help each institution grow and benefit their local community. In the ongoing pandemic, communities of color have been disproportionately impacted, and this investment is part of Wells Fargo’s effort to generate a more inclusive recovery across the country.