STRONG ECONOMIES

Supporting Businesses

$19.6 billion loaned to small businesses in 2012.

Fueling America’s economic engine

Businesses—both small and large—have a critical role in driving our economies forward. We realize that we have the capacity to help businesses create and retain jobs, offer new products and services and generate new ideas and opportunities for their own customers and investors.

Lending and investing for small business

We understand the vital role small businesses play as local economic contributors, and we aim to help them through a wide range of efforts.

Small Business Owner Report 2013

We are pleased to share the fall 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report, a semi-annual study that uncovers the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. Our fall report takes a close look at the challenges of finding and retaining the right talent, revenue and growth expectations, the impact of the holiday season and access to capital. View infographic

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Fall 2013 Small Business Owner Report

Bank of America releases the fall 2013 Small Business Owner Report

The fall 2013 Bank of America Small Business Owner Report is a semi-annual study that uncovers the concerns, aspirations and perspectives of small business owners across the country. Small business owners surveyed are optimistic about their growth in 2014, with nearly one-third planning to hire over the next 12 months, and more than half expecting their revenue to increase over the same time period.  More More

Pizza Port employee spinning pizza dough in the air at Pizza Port in San Diego, California.

Small business specialists

We have enhanced our commitment to small businesses with more than 8,000 Merrill Lynch Financial Advisors who serve business owners’ retirement plan needs. In addition, our online Customized Small Business Account Recommendations tool helps assess customer needs and recommends solutions. We have also hired more than 600 small business bankers since late 2010 and plan to hire about 1,000 more by mid-2012. Plus, our online community of small business owners provide free advice to more than 68,000 members. More More

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

We work with CDFIs to expand access to capital and technical assistance in underserved communities, including small businesses that don’t qualify for traditional financing. We have provided financing to ACCION, a certified CDFI and nonprofit organization that has loaned more than $28 million to small business owners in underserved communities who can’t obtain traditional financing. In 2010, we increased our Program Related Investment (PRI) in ACCION from $2.5 million to $3.5 million, enabling ACCION to provide more loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado.

Small Business Association Programs (SBA)

Bank of America is an active participant in SBA lending programs and a top lender in the 504 program, originating more than $589 million in new first- and second-trust deed loans with long-term, fixed-rate financing in 2011. We also participate in the 7(a) and Express programs. More than $200 million of our CDFI portfolio is dedicated to financing small businesses that can’t qualify for traditional loans. Our $12-million CDFI loan loss reserve grant program, created to unlock low-cost capital for small businesses, has allowed CDFIs to access more than $93 million, serving more than 8,700 local businesses and helping to create and retain more than 13,000 jobs so far.

Minority and women-owned businesses

Minority-owned businesses face particular challenges, including accessing capital and building relationships with potential corporate clients and government agencies. Bank of America works closely with regional diversity councils that are members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. We provide the funding and technical support these businesses need to survive and thrive. We also help them succeed in today’s challenging economy by serving as a primary source of contracts for these businesses.

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A win-win situation

We pledged to increase our spending with small, medium-sized and diverse businesses by purchasing $10 billion in products and services from them over five years. This way, small and medium-sized firms get help to grow their businesses, create jobs and increase their communities’ tax base, and we increase our sources of quality products and services. This helps encourage competition and bring down costs.

Medium and large-sized companies

Bank of America helps finance businesses of all sizes, enabling their development and expansion. For medium-sized businesses, we instituted a number of new programs, including increased access to credit and enhanced customer convenience.

Our largest corporate clients benefit from the breadth of our offerings across multiple lines of business, including debt and equity capital raising, merger and acquisition advisory, treasury, liquidity management and equipment financing. Our large corporate clients also experience considerable benefits from Merrill Lynch, including a broader global presence and world-class expertise in equities and commodities.

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Alex & Ani bracelets

How Alex & Ani turned recycled metals into a global brand

As a company rooted in the words "Made in America with Love," Alex and Ani has grown from a storefront in Newport to a beloved brand in 15 countries and helped Rhode Island reclaim its title as the Jewelry Capital of the United States. Using local suppliers and recycled metals, Carolyn Rafaelian's enterprise creates handcrafted jewelry that, in turn, is creating thousands of jobs nationwide. More

Spurring growth through Initial Public Offerings (IPOs)

Growth IPOs—private businesses making their public debuts by selling stock on exchanges—are good for the economy since they generate capital for new investments when relatively young companies need it most. As these companies grow, they have the opportunity to hire more employees, expand their physical entities and develop additional business partnerships. Bank of America Merrill Lynch led two of the largest IPOs during the fourth quarter of 2011, a $1 billion deal for a social game developer and an $805 million offering for a leading discount service. At a time when many individuals are looking for work, growth IPOs can help stimulate new employment opportunities and foster a more robust economic recovery.

Public sector organizations

In 2010, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Public Finance group helped local governments, healthcare organizations and educational institutions in the United States raise more than $59 billion in the public markets, more than any other financial institution. The financing is being used for a variety of public projects including infrastructure, social services, education, hospitals and medical research.

In addition, we directly financed more than $2.2 billion of infrastructure and equipment through Banc of America Public Capital Corp. Projects included a city hall and a parking garage in Fresno, California; a public safety communications center in Scottsdale, Arizona; and more than $200 million for equipment and software to convert electronic healthcare records in 43 medical facilities around the United States.

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Supporting Communities

Supporting Communities 

Bank of America is committed to supporting neighborhoods through global lending, investing and giving programs.