Goldman Sachs has committed $15 million to help small businesses in Florida that are struggling because of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 coronavirus.
Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS), a global investment bank and financial services, is making the funding available through Lendistry, an online small business lender, said David Solomon, chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, during a digital press conference with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.
“Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFI’s, such as Lendistry have the expertise, experience and reach that is needed to distribute these funds efficiently and to those without an existing banking relationship through which they can access capital at this critical time,” Solomon said. “These emergency loans will be made to small businesses as part of the Paycheck Protection Program under the CARES act, which Congress moved to reinforce this week. They will provide urgent cash flow assistance, and are designed to be partially or wholly forgiven if necessary criteria are met.”
Lendistry works with community lenders and larger banks to leverage connections, CEO Everett Sands said during the press conference.
“We’re looking to be intentional, including helping those who are not in Lendistry’s portfolio. We want to help minority-owned and women-owned business owners to keep their employees on payroll, survive, and eventually thrive,” Sands said. “We need to make sure no business is overlooked, especially those in lower income areas. Their employees, their customers, their local economies are depending on lenders like Lendistry to step up and do their part.”
Rubio said small businesses can start applying for the additional PPP funds today through the company’s website, lendistry.com, in anticipation of the Small Business Administration opening its portal for loan approvals on Monday.
“The goal in this is to reach as many people as possible and save as many jobs as possible,” Rubio said.
Goldman Sachs is making the funding for Florida available in conjunction with an earlier $550 million commitment to help small businesses in communities suffering through the coronavirus crisis, Solomon said. Goldman Sachs does not have direct small business customers, but works with small businesses through its 10,00 Small Businesses program.
A graduate of that program, Jennifer Robertson-Ahrens, also attended the digital press conference.
She is president of Robertson Forwarding Co., a freight forwarding company based in Miami, and she said her company’s experience in the past six weeks has been sobering.
“Our phones have been dried up. They don’t make any sounds whatsoever. I’m doing my best to keep my employees on payroll for at least one more pay period,” Robertson-Ahrens said.
The $15 million that Goldman Sachs is making available for small business loans will be backed by PPP funding in a $484 billion Covid-19 relief package approved by Congress earlier this week. President Trump was expected to sign the measure Friday.