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Business Observer Tuesday, Sep. 14, 2021 37 min ago

Locally owned bank reaches major lending milestone

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St. Petersburg-based First Home Bank loans more than $50 million to minority-owned businesses.

ST. PETERSBURG — First Home Bank has made good on its pledge to become a preeminent supporter of minority-owned businesses in the Tampa Bay region. The St. Petersburg-based bank recently announced that it had surpassed its goal, set 10 months ago, to loan $50 million to companies owned by members of minority groups.

The bank’s Minority-Owned Business Lending Program has, to date, originated loans exceeding a total of $51.6 million, according to a news release. The initiative was established to help alleviate some of the problems faced by minority-owned small businesses, such as language and cultural barriers, lack of trust in financial institutions, red tape, financial literacy and more.

First Home Bank had originally hoped to meet the $50 million lending threshold by 2023, the release states, but surpassed it within a year. The program also focused on minority-owned businesses that have been disproportionally affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We set out to establish First Home as the preeminent minority business lender in Tampa Bay and a leader in corporate social responsibility; achieving this goal brings us one step closer,” First Home Bank CEO Anthony Leo states in the release. “We’re proud to play a small role in ensuring these business owners have equal access to resources they need to support and grow their businesses.”

He adds, “At a time when it is clear that minority-owned businesses are not getting their proportionate share of funding, we’re proud to be part of the solution. And this is just the beginning.”

The bank, according to the release, plans to add residential and consumer loans to its minority lending program in the future.

First Home Bank reported more than $43.7 million in gross revenue in 2020, up from $25.7 million in 2019. It ended the second quarter of 2021 with $518.6 million in total assets. 

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