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Funding Small Businesses: CDFIs Their Role & Experience In US & UK

By Dr Steve Walker

by Keerat

Dr Steve Walker, Chief Executive - ART Business Loans


It’s said that when the US sneezes, the UK catches cold. But we also have the US to thank for a model of finance that supports businesses in a way that the banks are not able to.

ART Business Loans (ART), established in 1997, lends throughout the West Midlands and adjoining counties with a mission to support enterprise and underserved areas and communities. Its model – raising money from a variety of public and private sources to lend in a specific area - is based on the Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) and Development Banking sector in the United States, with inspiration also being drawn from Birmingham’s twin city of Chicago and its South Shore Bank.

25 years ago, ART was the first of its kind in the UK. I believe it is again timely to compare the development of the CDFI sector in the UK versus the US and note some of the differences, challenges and opportunities that exist.

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