Texas Microlender Steps Up For Entrepreneurs

By Hanah Cho
The Dallas Morning News.

DALLAS

Kimberly May credits microlender Accion Texas with rescuing her roofing business in 2007.

Three days after Bank of America approved a $40,000 line of credit, the bank rescinded it.

But by then, May had ordered materials for upcoming projects and sent out checks.

As luck would have it, on the day May got the news, she was at a trade show in Fort Worth, where she encountered an Accion representative.

Within seven days, May had a $50,000 loan.

“They saved my business at that point, and so then we continued to grow from there,” said May, founder and chief executive of WnR Inc.

San Antonio-based Accion Texas has been helping Dallas-area entrepreneurs who can’t get capital from traditional banks since 1999, five years after the nonprofit was founded.

Over the past 15 years, the Dallas office has doled out nearly $24.5 million in 2,022 loans.

Its lending peaked during the recession as banks scaled back before loan volumes returned to more normal levels.

In the past year, however, Accion’s North Texas market has increased its efforts with new leadership, additional funding and more marketing and outreach.

So far this year, the office has provided $1.47 million in 135 loans, already exceeding last year’s total volume.

Given its pace, it would not be ambitious to expect the North Texas office to double, or even triple, last year’s loan production, said Luther G. Branham, the local market president.

That level of loan production would bring the office near or above its lending peak of $3.4 million in 2008.

“The demand is not going down. It’s going steady or going up,” Branham said.

Accion also has access to additional capital through Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses, a nationwide program that launched in North Texas this year.

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