Rural Center friends and partners, 

It is my honor today to announce some exciting and historic news from the NC Rural Center. 

Beginning in 1989 with the Microenterprise Loan Program, small business lending has been a core facet of the Rural Center’s work. Since 2012, we have managed North Carolina’s Loan Participation Program, which buys a portion of loans that community banks and CDFIs make to small businesses. The program is one of the top in the nation for its ability to leverage private lending dollars and to support women- and minority-owned businesses. 

As our state, and our nation’s, landscape changes, we have worked to adapt and expand our approaches to economic development. One such example is our launch of our nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) lending subsidiary, Thread Capital, in 2018. Another example is our launch of the NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program in March 2020, which has distributed more than $40 million in small-business loans, with the majority of loans going to women- and minority-owned businesses. 

Today, I am proud to announce that we once again have strengthened our resolve to serve under-resourced and under-capitalized communities. In partnership with Truist, the bank that emerged from the BB&T and SunTrust merger, we are launching a new subsidiary: CornerSquare Community Capital
With an initial investment of $40 million from Truist, CornerSquare Community Capital will purchase a participation in loans originated by CDFIs, organizations which have been undercapitalized for decades and lend primarily to women- and minority-owned businesses, low-to-moderate income individuals, and individuals in low-to-moderate income census tracts. CornerSquare will focus on CDFIs located in Truist’s region of operations—meaning that not only will CornerSquare invest in CDFIs in North Carolina, but in 17 states and the District of Columbia.

Read Truist’s announcement about this new partnership, which was made possible by funding from the Truist Foundation Inc. and the Truist Charitable Fund.

Rest assured; our core mission has not changed. Existing resources are not being diverted; we are adding to our programs, not taking away from them. We are still centered on developing, promoting, and implementing sound economic strategies to improve the quality of life of rural North Carolinians. Our collective priority will always be the needs of rural North Carolina. CornerSquare Community Capital is a complement to our Loan Participation Program, offering greater support for North Carolina’s CDFI sector. Given our strong track record of executing and delivering high-impact lending support programs in North Carolina, our passion for creating lasting change through small-business development, and this historic contribution by Truist, launching CornerSquare Community Capital was a simple decision for us. 

While CornerSquare will reach across state lines, the rest of the Rural Center’s programming will remain rooted in rural North Carolina, meaning that there will be no changes to the Center’s current and future work. If anything, this new partnership will empower us to do more for the rural communities we serve

We are looking forward to this new chapter in our work in rural North Carolina and beyond. From all of us at the Rural Center, thank you for your continued partnership and support—and thank you for all you do for rural North Carolina. 

Patrick Woodie