CenterState Bank Supports Small Business Growth in Tough Economy

Center State Bank announces its support for Pasco Economic Development Council’s new microloan fund with a $5,000 donation through its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) program to help small business growth in Pasco County.

“We are proud to partner with Pasco EDC in this great program,” says Skip Skairus, Vice President, CenterState Bank. “This is a great way of making possible short-term, fixed-rate, fixed-payment loans to start-ups and newly established small businesses in Pasco County.

“CenterState’s donation to the fund is perfect timing,” said John Hagen, Pasco EDC President/CEO. “We wanted to start lending in March.” Hagen added that there are many people who may be turned down for a loan at a bank because their borrowing need is too small or they have limited credit history, but who might have a really great business idea. Hagen is asking for banks instead to refer these entrepreneurs to Pasco EDC’s new microloan fund. “We may be able to help them get started. Once they launch their business, the bank can continue its relationship with them and make the next one when they are commercially viable. It’s a win-win-win.”

The microloan program will not only lend money to small businesses located in Pasco County, but will offer entrepreneurs free technical assistance and training to help work through challenges they may face in starting or growing a new business. “We believe that there are many people with great ideas and skills who simply lack the money and resources to get started — or to expand. We want them to succeed,” said Hagen.

Pasco EDC is actively looking for community leaders and businesses who want to pitch in to build the fund.  Commissioners’ approval of the funding lending policies is anticipated in February, and according to Hagen, “We expect to be funding projects on March 1.”

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