Capital One Financial Corp. has committed $500,000 to match loans made to small U.S. businesses through the Kiva.org crowd-funding website. The funds are intended to help entrepreneurs obtain additional money to start, sustain and expand their businesses.
Kiva's microlending platform allows individuals who have access to the Internet and $25 or more to help fund a loan to a small business.
Kiva President Premal Shah said in a statement that one loan, business or job can change the trajectory of families, communities and cities.
"If the money stored in our wallets was given a new life for a short amount of time, as a loan to a small-business owner, each of us could help to shape the course and success of the economy," Shah said. "Now with Capital One's support, the amount you lend will be matched and small-business owners across the U.S. will be that much closer to realizing their dream."
Jonathan W. Witter, president of retail and direct banking at Capital One, said Kiva helps connect local businesses with people in their local communities.
"Small businesses are the engine of our economy. As they do well, it has a ripple effect on local economies. Jobs are created and communities are strengthened," Witter said.
Since its inception in 2005, Kiva lenders have funded more than $390 million in loans to 975,000 entrepreneurs from five continents, according to the company. The website also reports a 98 percent repayment rate.
The Kiva platform was opened to U.S. small-business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in cities including New Orleans, Detroit, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., in June 2010.
Capital One is headquartered in McLean, Va., and has more than 900 branches, primarily in Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Visa, American Express and PayPal are among the other financial services companies that also are Kiva sponsors.
Is Kiva the right way to finance small businesses? Would you take that route if traditional lending didn't pan out?
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