Small Business Lending Grows In Cleveland

KeyBank announced this week that it’s surpassed its goal of providing $2 billion in capital to women business owners – and it’s done that three years ahead of schedule, despite the difficult economic times. And now, Key has set a new goal: It’s pledging to lend an additional $3 billion to female entrepreneurs by 2012.

Key says female entrepreneurs, who have been starting businesses at twice the rate of men for the past two decades, will be critical to the country’s economic recovery. See what we’ve written on that same topic here and here.

Back in December, as we were all still reeling from the bank collapses of the fall, I had the chance to talk with Maria Coyne, executive vice president at Key who founded its Key4Women program back in 2005. She memorably mentioned to me that she had never been so happy to work for a low-key Midwestern bank that, in recent years, hadn’t grab headlines like its bigger counterparts (some of which don’t exist anymore).

In its press release this week, Key addressed that point here:

“When the economy slowed in 2008, despite concern from business owners across America about access to capital, KeyBank remained well capitalized and has maintained its focus on lending to relationship clients. Key’s ability to lend is partially due to its history of sound credit standards and choice to shun risky activities.”

Doubtlessly, it will still be only the most creditworthy borrowers who get loans – but this announcement seems a step in the right direction for entrepreneurs who rely on credit to grow their businesses.

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