Become A Partner
As a lender, we know you care about ensuring access to capital for clients who have been historically underserved - and we do too. We are excited to partner with mission-minded lenders in our footprint, and would love to talk with you about how we can make that happen.
About Cornersquare Community Capital
What We Do
We are an addition to the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and Minority Depository Institution (MDI) sector designed to significantly increase investment in communities and entrepreneurs that have seen decades of underinvestment. We are a long-term, sustainable solution to support CDFIs and MDIs working on the ground at the local level. By purchasing a portion of loans made by a CDFI and MDI to historically underserved entrepreneurs, we enable the participating CDFIs and MDIs to better manage risk and lend more with their existing capital, ultimately expanding its reach and support to more small businesses. Participating CDFIs and MDIs should see their own capacity increase by at least 25 percent in the coming years as a direct result of our partnership.
CDFIs and MDIs have access to at least 25 percent more capital with our partnership, and they are able to take more risk with their loan decisions. We expect to support billions of dollars of additional lending to underrepresented borrowers in the coming years. In addition, entrepreneurs that lack assets for collateral are more competitive now for CDFI and MDI loans. Capital access for entrepreneurs in our footprint will expand as the CDFI and MDI lending structure is strengthened.
Where We Are
We focus on partnering with CDFIs and MDIs located across the following 17-state footprint: North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Washington, D.C.
Our Operations: Truist and the NC Rural Center
We were graciously established by a $40 million initial donation from Truist in 2020. We operate as a subsidiary of the NC Rural Center, a nonprofit that has worked for more than 30 years to support small-business owners and entrepreneurs in low- and moderate-income communities. To date, the Rural Center’s broad suite of lending programs—some of which have been in operation since the late 1980s—have leveraged more than $800 million in private funds, creating and retaining more than 15,000 jobs. While building on a strong track record of experience in North Carolina, CornerSquare represents the Rural Center’s first geographic expansion.
What We Care About
100 percent of our funding is allocated to racially and ethnically diverse small-business owners, women and individuals in low- and moderate-income communities, with a focus on Black-owned small businesses. Systemic inequities in our small business ecosystem have caused limited financing options for racially and ethnically diverse entrepreneurs, women, and low-to-moderate (LMI) income communities and individuals. CDFIs and MDIs, which primarily serve these communities, have also found that they are systemically undercapitalized to meet the need in their local communities. We believe that through this work, we can change the system.
Our current CDFI partners
A list of our current partners by coverage area can be found here.
About Loans and Applications
Loan Characteristics and Eligibility
Loans we purchase are required to meet the following characteristics:
- The CDFIs offer varied loan products with minimum loan amounts as low as $5,000.
- The loan must have been originated by an approved CDFI to participate in the program.
- The underlying small business/borrower must be at least 50 percent owned, controlled, and operated by residents of the United States who are one of the following:
- Black, Latinx, Native American, or Asian
- Low-to-moderate income
- Operate in a low-to-moderate income census tract
Individuals that do not fit these criteria are still able to receive loans from partner CDFIs. To obtain CDFI status, an organization is required to originate 60 percent of its loans to borrowers that meet our criteria. So, while we have a narrower focus, our partners actively seek and provide financing to borrowers who do not meet the criteria for this program.
Small Business and Entrepreneurs
We do not work directly with entrepreneurs and small businesses, instead we focus on providing support and additional resources to lenders that are already active. Small businesses interested in applying for loans may contact our CDFI partners directly for more information.
Loan Fund Usage
Each partner lender has existing loan products, each with their own set of guidelines for how their individual loans can be used.We supports lenders in making loans, but the administration and oversight of individual loan transactions is managed by each individual partner CDFI.