Pathway Lending celebrates 10 years of Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund

Staff Reports • Jun 23, 2017 at 1:53 PM

NASHVILLE – Pathway Lending, a regional nonprofit community development financial institution that provides loans to businesses lacking access to traditional financing, celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund this month. 

The TNROF is a public-private partnership between Pathway Lending, the state and the Tennessee Bankers Association. Created in 2007, the TNROF provides loans to small businesses across the state that are unable to access traditional bank financing.

The fund was capitalized with $10 million in community development investments from TBA member banks. In the past decade, the initial investments generated 117 loans totaling more than $21 million to 75 businesses in 34 counties throughout Tennessee, created more than 330 jobs within the state and retained more than 500 more.

“Through the Rural Opportunity Fund, Pathway Lending provides access to credit for small businesses in Tennessee that may not otherwise have access because their needs don’t fit into a bank’s traditional model,” said Colin Barrett, president and CEO of the Tennessee Banker’s Association. “These loans help small businesses grow and turn them into viable bank customers, providing an avenue for them to succeed and support small communities throughout our state.”

Through the support of its partners, the TNROF has had significant impacts on expanding capital access to underserved small businesses. The impacts range from financing Main Street revitalization efforts to expanding manufacturing facilities increasing production while creating and retaining jobs in rural communities throughout Tennessee.  

“Banks that have invested in the Rural Opportunity Fund so far have received over $10 million in Franchise and Excise Tax Credits from the state of Tennessee, received CRA credit from their regulators, and have earned over $3 million in interest income,” said Barrett. “The Rural Opportunity Fund is important for the success of all Tennesseans, our banks and our communities. Every dollar that’s loaned into the community is being returned threefold in economic development in Tennessee.”

Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund bank investors include Capital Bank, CB&S Bank, Centennial Bank, Citizens Bank, Commercial Bank & Trust, Decatur County Bank, F&M Bank, FirstBank, First National Bank of Oneida, Foundation Bank, HomeTrust Bank, Legends Bank, Macon Band & Trust Co., Peoples Bank, Pinnacle Bank, Reliant Bank, Simmons Bank and Wayne County Bank.

“Our goal at Pathway Lending is to act as a partner to the banks in our state,” said Clint Gwin, president of Pathway Lending. “We focus on the interest of our clients, partners and communities. The Rural Opportunity Fund has been a tremendous success for everyone involved and we are excited about continuing to attract additional capital in to the fund so it will continue to be available now and into the future.”

For more information on the Tennessee Rural Opportunity Fund or Pathway Lending, visit pathwaylending.com.

Based in Nashville, Pathway Lending is a Community Development Financial Institution as certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury that serves Tennessee and Alabama. Founded in 1999, Pathway Lending supports the long-term growth and development of entrepreneurs lacking access to traditional financing through flexible loans and hands-on technical assistance. To date, Pathway Lending has made more than $195 million in loans and delivered more than 40,000 hours of technical assistance.

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