First State invests $1 million in TN Rural Opportunity Fund
The Messenger 02.25.08
First State Bank has announced a $1 million investment in the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund — a $10 million public-private partnership between the State of Tennessee, the member banks of Tennessee Bankers Association (TBA) and Southeast Community Capital (SCC).
The fund will provide loans to businesses in rural areas throughout Tennessee that do not have access to traditional financing. Through this new loan fund, SCC will provide financing to help companies grow, create new jobs for Tennesseans, provide better wages and help communities economics expand.
“The Rural Opportunity Fund is an innovative financing resource to help small businesses in rural areas grow and create new jobs for Tennesseans,” Gov. Phil Bredesen said.
Since Bredesen announced the creation of the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund in September 2007, 17 community banks from across the state have invested $7,950,000 that will be made available to businesses lacking traditional financing in rural areas. SCC is in the process of finalizing the remaining $2.1 million in investments to fully capitalize the fund at its $10 million goal set by the governor.
“We are pleased to be able to invest in such a worthwhile program,” said John Clark, president and CEO of First State Bank. “First State is committed to providing quality financial services to the people and communities we serve throughout Tennessee. We see our partnership in the Rural Opportunity Fund as a great way to positively impact our state’s economy, create new jobs in areas that need it the most and offer families the opportunity to achieve their personal and financial goals.”
Tennessee community banks currently participating in the fund include First Bank (Lexington), First State Bank (Union City), Pinnacle Bank (Nashville), Tennessee Commerce Bank (Franklin), GreenBank (Greene-ville), Community South (Par-sons), Commercial Bank and Trust (Paris), Citizens Bank (Elizabethtown), Reliant Bank (Franklin), Citizens Bank (Carthage), Decatur County Bank (Decaturville), Wayne County Bank (Waynesboro), Citizens National Bank (Athens), People’s Bank (Clifton), Farmers and Merchants (Trezevant), F&M Bank (Clarksville) and Community Bank and Trust (Ashland City).
“The Tennessee Bankers Association appreciates First State Bank’s commitment to our community and to this important public-private partnership with the State of Tennessee. The TN Rural Opportunity Fund provides our member banks an opportunity to meet the capital needs of rural entrepreneurs that are not ready for traditional financing,” said Brad Barrett, president of the TBA.
Over the next 10 years, the Rural Opportunity Fund is expected to generate over $25 million in loans, finance more than 350 small businesses and create over 600 new jobs.
“Southeast Community Capital is committed to financing small and disadvantaged businesses that have opportunities to grow but to not meet traditional credit standards. The creation of the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund will expand Southeast Community Capital’s reach to the areas of the state most in need of business growth and job creation,” said Clint Gwin, president of Southeast Community Capital.
For more information, visit the Web site www.sccapital.org or call Hank Helton or Gwin at (615) 254-6113. SCC is a not-for-profit Community Development Financial Institution that provides loans to small businesses lacking access to traditional financing.
First State Bank, Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund