Local Community Lender Has Best Year in its Sixteen-Year History
Brian Nguah, owner of Royal Lioness, is one happy entrepreneur. He credits his $25,000 loan from The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund with helping him double sales of his very hot-selling line of “shapewear.” Chris Hudock, director of The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund, though, won’t accept that credit. “Brian is the reason Brian is so successful,” Hudock said, adding, “We just did what we are here to do: invest the community’s capital in dreamers whose plans are solid enough to turn those dreams into reality.”
The Kenyan immigrant’s loan was used to purchase additional inventory, buy equipment for the kiosks he places temporarily in local malls (his kiosk in the Willow Grove Mall opens May 1) and for working capital. Sales growth from the loan, most of which follows national trends toward online retailing, enabled him to add two employees.
The loan to Royal Lioness pushed The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund’s total lending over $5 million. Seven more loans since the Royal Lioness loan have brought The Rising Tide’s total lending to $5.24 million. The Rising Tide has made 180 loans to 155 businesses, only 16 of which have been charged off, with a net charge-off ratio of 4.62 percent. In the past 12 months, The Rising Tide booked 23 loans, eclipsing its previous high of 16. Of the 180 loans, 114 were made to businesses owned by women, 73 to entrepreneurs of color and 126 to borrowers whose income was below 80 percent of the area’s median income or whose business is located in a low- to moderate-income census tract. In the process, 590 jobs have been created or retained.
The Rising Tide Community Loan Fund is the only federally-certified community development financial institution based in the Lehigh Valley. It serves Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Monroe and upper Bucks counties. Its products include microloans up to $50,000, loans up to $150,000 to small businesses and lines of credit. It is a subsidiary of the Community Action Lehigh Valley.
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