TS Bank in Council Bluffs recently gifted $2,500 to a nonprofit organization aiming to boost the economic vitality of the communities it serves by supporting small businesses.
The gift, made earlier this month, went to the Nebraska Enterprise Fund, a Small Business Administration micro-lender and Certified Community Development Financial Institution that recently expanded its reach into Iowa through the Southwest Iowa Loan Fund.
The fund will offer direct loans to businesses and fill financing gaps in participation with other lenders and programs, as well as assisting in entrepreneurial training and business development services, according to provided information from the organization.
“In a lot of ways it made sense for us, just coming right across the river,” NEF Executive Director Jim Reiff said of starting an Iowa loan fund. “We felt good about making the move; when we looked at the market we saw that there really weren’t other organizations like ours serving Pottawattamie, Mills and other counties in southwest Iowa.”
Other contributing organizations include First National Bank of Omaha, US Bank and Iowa West, Charles E. Lakin and Peter Kiewit foundations.
During the past five years, provided information says NEF has provided $14.9 million to small and micro-businesses in Nebraska through 368 loans, impacting 1,977 jobs along the way. The program collaborates with local eco-systems to create more pathways of sustainability for local small businesses.
Through its inception, Reiff said the Southwest Iowa Loan Fund will also support businesses with cash flow, create a strong marketing plan and assist with any collateral challenges. The current focus is small businesses in Pottawattamie County, but the fund plans to expand to six to 12 nearby counties long term.
Loans, he said, will range between $1,000 and $150,000 and typically must be paid back between 18 and 72 months. Businesses receiving funding generally are recommended by local banks and community partners, and then a formal application process occurs, Reiff said.
Kelsey Stupfell, TS Bank’s director of community reinvestment, said the collaborative effort with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund started about two years ago with talks about what could be done to boost small businesses locally.
Stupfell noted how she and other bank representatives want to be heavily involved in the community, aside from their day-to-day business dealings with clients.
“At TS Bank, we really want to help more local small businesses and help ignite prosperity in our communities,” she said. “So teaming up with the Nebraska Enterprise Fund and the Southwest Iowa Loan Fund is a great way to do that.
“Both of our missions really aligned to carry out this partnership.”
Reiff praised partnering organizations, noting that their financial backing pays dividends in terms of boosting business.