First National Bank Invests $500,000 in the Center for Rural Affairs

Release Date: 

07/13/2016

Contact(s): 

John Crabtree, Center for Rural Affairs, johnc@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010
or Kevin Langin, First National Bank, (402) 602-3541

Lyons, NE – First National Bank provided a $500,000 Equity-Equivalent Investment to the Center for Rural Affairs, announced Alec Gorynski, Director, Community Development and Social Responsibility.  The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) is a nonprofit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms, and rural communities with an emphasis on economic development, social justice and environmental stewardship.  

First National Bank’s investment will be used to support micro and small business lending activities throughout rural communities within the state of Nebraska via CFRA’s lending arm, the Rural Investment Corporation.  Specifically, the funds will be used to provide financing and technical assistance in support of community development, including start-up and expansion of small businesses, job creation and other community assets, improving access to services and ownership opportunities, especially for low-income or otherwise disadvantaged individuals.
 
“The demand for small business financing in rural Nebraska is extremely high,” said Jeff Reynolds, Center for Rural Affairs – REAP Director and Rural Investment Corporation COO.  “We look forward to getting these critical small business loan dollars out to startup and existing businesses in the First National Bank trade area and continuing our mission of creating vibrant rural communities through small business development.”
 
“First National Bank’s investment in the Center for Rural Affairs reflects our commitment to strengthening the local economies in all the communities we serve,” said Gorynski.  “It is extremely important to us that rural communities continue to thrive and we believe they will through new and expanded businesses, an adequate job supply and access to a variety of local services.”   
 
In 2015, the bank awarded more than $3 million in sponsorships, donations, and community development grants and investments to organizations who support strong local economies across its seven-state service area.  By 2020, the bank hopes to help create or retain 25,000 jobs in communities across its footprint via targeted investments and grants to community partners who help grow small businesses through training, technical assistance and loans. To learn more about First National Bank’s community contributions, view the “First in the Community Impact Report” by visiting: https://www.firstnational.com/site/about-us/in-the-community/index.fhtml
 
First National Bank is a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska.  First National of Nebraska is the largest privately owned banking company in the United States.  First National of Nebraska and its affiliates have $20 billion in assets and 5,000 employee associates.  Primary banking offices are located in Nebraska, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, South Dakota and Texas.
 
Established in 1973, the Center for Rural Affairs is a private, non-profit organization working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities through action oriented programs addressing social, economic, and environmental issues.
 
The Rural Investment Corporation, a Nebraska nonprofit corporation, is a subsidiary corporation of the Center for Rural Affairs. The Rural Investment Corporation was incorporated in 1997, capitalized in 2011, and was certified as a Community Development Financial Institution in 2013. The Rural Investment Corporation works in partnership with the Rural Enterprise Assistance Project, a program of the Center, as well as with REAP’s Women’s Business Center and Latino Business Center.
 
These valued components of the Center for Rural Affairs provide comprehensive business development services – specialized technical assistance, business management training, networking, and access to credit to small businesses and microenterprises in rural Nebraska.