Supporting Black communities to remove obstacles to loan access

Al Ramsay

The Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program is lending program founded on providing more equitable access to credit for Black entrepreneurs, who disproportionally face hurdles securing funding for their businesses, helping to foster economic inclusion. Designed to help Black business owners drive their businesses forward, the Program also offers dedicated support and resources via specialized Account Managers and Black Customer Experience regional teams as part of TD’s Black Customer Experience Strategy.

“TD is committed to supporting Black communities by helping remove obstacles when it comes to loan access, wealth management and specialized advice,” says Al Ramsay, Vice President, 2SLGBTQ+ & Black Customer Segments, TD Bank Group. “Through our Black Entrepreneur Credit Access Program, we’re thrilled to offer holistic support to Black-led businesses, including flexible access to credit, regional teams of specialized Account and Small Business managers as well as resources within our ecosystem of affiliated organizations.”

Research by Abacus Data* found that 76 per cent of Black entrepreneurs surveyed said they felt race made it harder to succeed, citing access to funding, financing, and capital as some of their top challenges – a sentiment echoed in our research with Black community leaders and small business owners. The same research unveiled that Black entrepreneurs feel there is little done before, during and after a credit application to help Black Small Business Owners succeed and insufficient information is supplied to rejected applicants on next steps after a decline.

As part of the Program, TD offers an enhanced credit review process that includes a holistic view of the applicant’s credit application, and where necessary a secondary review by a specialized credit review committee. Applicants can also work directly with TD’s Black Customer Experience Team which can support entrepreneurs in navigating the Bank and can make connections to organizations that TD supports via funding, such as the Black Opportunity Fund (BOF), the Federation of African Canadian Economics (FACE), or numerous regional organizations. To take part in the Program, businesses must attest to their eligibility, which includes being 50 percent or more Black-owned.

“With this strong foundation in place, we are better able to help support Black entrepreneurs with access to credit directly through TD and through many allied organizations,” says Ramsay.

Since 2011, TD has worked to provide greater financial support and inclusion for Black Canadians, beginning with a research-based approach to understanding the needs of Black communities in Canada, helping form TD’s Black Customer Experience (BCE) Strategy in October 2021. Since its inception, the BCE Strategy has focused on bringing the “whole bank” to Black communities, including hiring and training regional managers to provide local community support