City of Gary and First Financial Bank roll out micro-loan program for business owners

The city of Gary and First Financial Bank announced they partnered to offer micro-loans to small businesses.

The city of Gary and First Financial Bank are teaming up to offer small businesses in the Steel City micro-loans of up to $10,000 to help them grow or get through a rough patch.

The city and Cincinnati-based bank, which operates a branch at 5974 W. Ridge Road in Gary, have established a pool of $100,000 for micro-loans, which would be doled out in $10,000 increments with no more than $20,000 to a single business. The aim is to help small, minority and at-risk businesses, who will have flexibility on how they use the money.

“The micro-business loan program has a profound impact on new and existing small businesses within the local community,” said Roddell McCullough, senior vice president and community development director for First Financial Bank. “First Financial Bank is proud to be part of this great opportunity to invest in entrepreneurs as the health and growth of minority and small businesses also have a direct impact on employment, economic strength and generational wealth. We’re pleased to assist in improving lives in the communities we serve.”

The Gary Micro-Loan Program is intended to benefit small businesses, including those that might not qualify for traditional bank financing because of credit, loan size limits and other issues.

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“We thank First Financial Bank for its continued commitment to the Gary community,” Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said. “As we work to improve the economic state of the city, this collaboration presents an awesome opportunity for Gary businesses, residents and the city of Gary.”

Applicants for the Gary Micro-Loan Program will be vetted by First Financial Bank and a nine-member screening committee from the city.

For more information about the Gary Micro-Loan Program or for an application package, visit www.garyin.us or call Diana Sandlin at 219-881-1312.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.