SOURCE: Southeast Community Capital Corporation

Tennessee Rural Opportunities Fund

April 05, 2010 09:45 ET

Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund Wins National Community Reinvestment Award

Fund Recognized for Helping Businesses in Rural Communities Across the State Through Unique Collaboration Strategy

NASHVILLE, TN--(Marketwire - April 5, 2010) -  The Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund, a first of its kind $10 million economic development fund providing loans to small businesses in rural Tennessee, has been awarded the 2010 National Community Reinvestment Award from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council. The award recognizes the work of financial institutions that are advancing innovative solutions to the challenges facing lower-income and distressed communities.

The Fund is a public-private partnership between the State of Tennessee, 23 member banks of the Tennessee Bankers Association, and Southeast Community Capital Corporation (SCC) that utilizes a unique collaborative access to capital strategy to lend to small businesses in Tennessee's rural communities. It is a component of the Rural Opportunity Initiative, a three-pronged strategy unveiled by Governor Phil Bredesen in fall of 2007 to bolster economic growth in rural areas.

Launched in 2007 and operated by Southeast Community Capital, the Rural Opportunity Fund is expected to generate $25 million in loans and finance over 350 small, minority- and women-owned businesses that will create more than 600 new jobs over 10 years. To date, the Fund has originated over $9 million in loans to 44 businesses creating nearly 200 new jobs and retaining approximately 400 existing positions. Almost 70% of the loans have been made to women and/or Minority-owned businesses.

"There is an overwhelming need for small business capital in rural Tennessee and we are focused on getting our resources in the hands of those who need it most," said Southeast Community Capital president Clint Gwin. "Banks can't meet the needs of all business, which is why our focused financial and mentoring resources are so important to rural economic growth."

The award was presented on March 16, 2010 in New Orleans, LA at the 25th National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of Thrift Supervision.

Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund Investors:

  1. Pinnacle National Bank (Nashville, TN)
  2. Community South (Parsons, TN)
  3. FirstBank (Lexington, TN)
  4. First State Bank (Union City)
  5. Tennessee Commerce Bank (Franklin, TN)
  6. F & M Bank (Clarksville)
  7. Commercial Bank and Trust (Paris, TN)
  8. Citizens Bank (Elizabethton, TN)
  9. GreenBank (Greenville, TN)
  10. Reliant Bank (Franklin, TN)
  11. Citizens Bank (Carthage, TN)
  12. Macon Bank and Trust (Lafayette, TN)
  13. Decatur County Bank (Decaturville, TN)
  14. Wayne County Bank (Waynesboro, TN)
  15. Citizens National Bank (Athens, TN)
  16. Community Bank & Trust (Ashland City)
  17. Legends Bank (Clarksville, TN)
  18. McKenzie Banking Company (McKenzie, TN)
  19. Peoples Bank (Clifton, TN)
  20. Avenue Bank (Nashville)
  21. Jefferson Federal (Morristown, TN)
  22. Farmers and Merchants (Trezevant, TN)
  23. First National Bank of Oneida (Oneida, TN) 

About Southeast Community Capital
Based in Nashville, Southeast Community Capital (SCC) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) as certified by the CDFI Fund, a division of the U.S. Treasury Department. Founded in 1999, SCC provides loans to businesses lacking access to traditional financing options throughout Tennessee. In the ten years since its inception, SCC has grown to more than $28 million in assets. SCC has made over 400 loans to 300 plus companies totaling more than $40 million. SCC loans have facilitated the creation of more than 1,000 new full-time jobs while also maintaining or retaining more than 2,500 jobs. For more information, visit www.sccapital.org.