CEF receives $2M from Bank of America for loans to veterans

DENVER —  The Colorado Enterprise Fund has received more than $2 million from Bank of America that it will use to provide business loans to U.S. military veterans and Gold Star Families through its Veteran Access Loan Opportunity Resource, or VALOR, program.

An investor in CEF since 2013, Bank of America first provided $750,000 to help CEF launch its SBA Community Advantage loan program.

“We are thrilled to expand our relationship with Bank of America by partnering with them to serve veterans,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEF’s president and chief executive. “Their substantial investment of $2 million will help us scale up this effort in Colorado.”

In June, the Xcel Energy Foundation awarded CEF a $25,000 grant to help support veteran entrepreneurs in Colorado.

“While access to affordable small-business capital for vets and their families continues to be a challenge, it’s encouraging to see organizations like Bank of America and Xcel Energy Foundation step up to help our veterans pursue their dreams of owning small businesses,” Prinster said. “This funding ensures that veteran entrepreneurs who have honorably served our country are set up for success so they can grow and create more jobs across Colorado.”

CEF’s goal is to grow its VALOR veteran loan program to $4 million over the next two years. The new program, which has surpassed the $1 million mark in loans produced, was introduced on Veterans Day 2017, and provides discounted loan rates and extended terms for military veterans who are unable to secure financing through traditional banks.

Since its launch, the VALOR loan program has helped 19 U.S. military veteran borrowers either start or grow their businesses in Colorado.

The VALOR loan program offers loan amounts up to $500,000 for working capital, equipment, inventory, property improvements, business purchases and commercial real estate. The program offers a loan rate that is discounted 2 percent from standard CEF rates with loan terms of up to 10 years and interest-only periods of up to six months.