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Provident Bank Invests in Community Through LVEDC Financing Programs

By Colin McEvoy on May 1, 2015

Chris Martin, president and CEO of the Provident Bank, discussing the bank's plans to invest in Lehigh Valley communities.

Chris Martin, president and CEO of the Provident Bank, discussing the bank’s plans to invest in Lehigh Valley communities.

The Provident Bank has announced its plans to invest in Lehigh Valley communities, in part through financing programs administered and supported by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

Provident Bank, which acquired Team Capital Bank last year, has announced a series of initiatives designed to ensure broad access to credit and extend economic opportunity in the Lehigh Valley.

Those initiatives include investing $350,000 into the Lehigh Valley Regional Loan Pool, a pledge-based consortium of local commercial lending institutions and Lehigh University, administered by LVEDC, focused on economic development, primarily in the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton.

The bank has also joined the Lehigh Valley Lending Network, a new LVEDC initiative. This regional network of economic development and commercial lenders is designed to expedite access to credit in the promotion of business location and expansion in the region.

Matthew Tuerk, LVEDC vice president of administration and investor relations, said Provident Bank’s announcement directly supports LVEDC’s mission to serve as a regional shared services for businesses seeking to come, grow and start in the Lehigh Valley.

“LVEDC has prioritized supporting city and urban development, and increasing access to capital for companies seeking to locate and grow in the Lehigh Valley,” Tuerk said. “Through their investment in economic development and building a better community, Provident Bank has demonstrated that they share LVEDC’s vision of a Lehigh Valley with a diverse economic base that enables businesses to flourish, creating jobs and opportunities for all of our residents.”

Chris Martin, Provident Bank president and CEO, announced the initiatives during a press conference on April 30 organized by the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley (CACLV), attended by more than 50 people. The Lehigh Valley is one of the first markets Provident has served outside of New Jersey.

“We are anxious to make a difference here in the communities that so proudly make up the Lehigh Valley,” Martin said. “This community has character, resilience and pride. Those are assets in which we are excited to invest.”

Provident has invested in the Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, the region’s certified community development financial institution doing micro- and small business lending. Additionally, Provident will use LVEDC as the certified development company for all projects using the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 loan program in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

LVEDC offers more than one dozen financing programs to fund construction, land, equipment, working capital, workforce training and sustainable development projects. The organization’s business loan programs start at low interest for 15 years fixed.

Tuerk noted that in 2013, LVEDC commissioned the Atlanta-based firm Garner Economics to review the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley, and access to capital and credit for expanding businesses scored among the Lehigh Valley’s strengths.

“Now, with an even deeper commitment from Provident, we can continue to list a great lending environment among our regional economic assets,” he said. “… Through their investment in economic development and building a better community, Provident Bank has demonstrated that they share LVEDC’s vision of a Lehigh Valley with a diverse economic base that enables businesses to flourish, creating jobs and opportunities for all of our residents.”

Provident Bank announced a $50,000 annual commitment over six years to Southside Vision 2020, a comprehensive strategy for strengthening south Bethlehem, administered by the Community Action Development Corporation of Bethlehem and chaired by Mayor Robert Donchez. The bank has also committed $50,000 per year to a new Neighborhood Partnership Program proposed for Allentown.

“The bank’s commitment to the community is clear and strong, and it’s embodied in the number of initiatives that have been announced here today,” said Alan Jennings, executive director of CACLV.

Provident Bank has $5.8 billion in deposits and 87 branches located in 13 counties in New Jersey and three counties in eastern Pennsylvania.

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