Valley Bank launches new platform to serve underserved businesses

Valley National Bank launched a Community Lending platform on Wednesday that the Wayne-based financial institution said will help streamline processing as it ramps up its efforts to provide more financial products, resources and connections to women- and minority-owned businesses.

The new platform offers easier access to traditional products such as payroll, commercial mortgages and merchant services, while also looking at qualifications for loans with a different lens. Instead of just considering traditional requirements related to cash flow and having three years of business history, the bank is also considering personal and business credit scores.

Valley said its new platform makes the application and lending process much easier and faster by reducing a great deal of paperwork that would normally take weeks to process.

Under the leadership of National Director of Community Lending Thais Sullivan, the department now consists of 15 dedicated professionals and reaches across Valley Bank’s U.S. footprint from New York south through Florida, into underserved communities where businesses often don’t qualify for traditional lending.

“The Community Lending team is committed to looking at financing for these small businesses differently,” Sullivan stated. “We examine their growth potential rather than their current size to determine how we can help drive long-term growth. The launch of this platform will help us as we help small businesses along the path to growth and future success.”

“During the pandemic we became painfully aware how many businesses weren’t in a position to qualify for emergency funding programs like the Paycheck Protection Program. Minority-owned businesses in particular were less likely to apply, not because they didn’t need the funding, but because they weren’t set up to qualify.”