Magic Johnson’s company enters partnership to fund paycheck protection loans

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WASHINGTON — The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) has announced an agreement Earvin “Magic” Johnson, and MBE Capital Partners, in funding over $100 million in paycheck protection program loans.

Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers legend, is the majority owner of EquiTrust, the nation’s largest minority-owned insurance company. MBE Capital Partners is the largest certified minority-owned asset-based lender.

The partnership is focused on informing and encouraging minority and women-owned businesses to take advantage of the current paycheck protection program loan opportunities for businesses in underserved communities.

“I have the highest regard and respect for the entrepreneurial leadership and courage of Earvin Magic Johnson,” said Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the NNPA. “The NNPA, therefore, is enthusiastic and pleased to assist Johnson’s EquiTrust and with MBE Capital to enhance the economic recovery of African American and other minority-owned businesses amidst the devastating COVID-19 pandemic in America. Our businesses are the lifeblood of our communities.”

Johnson’s EquiTrust is providing critical financial support to underserved communities and businesses that have been traditionally neglected. The small and diverse businesses often have difficulty developing strong lending relationships with big banks.

According to the Center for Responsible Lending, up to 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been, or will likely be, shut out of the paycheck protection program.

MBE Capital is positioned to help small and diverse businesses take advantage of this latest round of paycheck protection program funding and the company is an approved SBA lender with more than 20 years of experience serving diverse and minority businesses. It can process up to 5,000 loans per day, utilizing end-to-end online technology to accept, underwrite and transmit the applications to the Small Business Administration.

MBE Capital Partners has already processed more than $300 million in paycheck protection program loans — including the EquiTrust partnership funding of $100 million.

The NNPA is the nation’s largest trade association of African American-owned newspapers and media businesses that reach 22.4 million readers per week across the nation.

MBE Capital Partners also has partnered with the Enterprise Center, a community development financial institution, providing it with technology and resources to help process more than $100 million in paycheck protection loans. This will allow the Enterprise Center to process more SBA loans in two weeks then it has in the last 10 years.

“I contacted EquiTrust, to be an additional strategic partner because I know that EquiTrust believes in changing outcomes for underserved communities the way I do,” said Rafael Martinez, CEO of MBE Capital. “The team at EquiTrust and my direct contact, Kenyatta Matheny, were incredible, and we put this deal together from first call to contracts in a week.

“After receiving hundreds of emails and calls from applicants asking if they can receive their [paycheck protection program] loans as soon as possible because this was a last hope to stay open — and in some cases to keep food on the tables of their employees — I was moved to expand this and look to fund over 20,000 PPP loans for minority companies.”

“This is a unique SBA-backed opportunity to use the vast resources of EquiTrust’s to prudently provide real and much needed cash to deserving minority and women-owned businesses that find it difficult to secure such funding through traditional means,” said Eric Holoman, president and chief executive officer of EquiTrust. “The jobs saved will make a significant difference to their families and communities.”

Wave Wire Services