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Photo:  Michael Flanigan, Vice President and Director of Community Relations, Citibank, N.A., Janet Thompson, Chair of the Board, ACCION New York, Joann Soto, Owner of J.S. Imports and Client of ACCION New York, Robert Espaillat, President and CEO, ACCION New York, Lucia Mendieta, Branch Manager, Banco Popular, Keila La Court, Vice President of Business Development, ACCION New York, Sylvia Figueroa, Community Reinvestment Officer, Banco Popular


Photo Credit: Andy Kropa

With the goal of fostering economic development and community change throughout New York City, the First Annual Bankers’ Breakfast brought together Manhattan’s banking community to promote alternative financing as a viable option for their small business clients.  The event, held on September 14, 2006, was co-hosted by Citibank and ACCION New York, the nation’s largest nonprofit provider of alternative business financing.

A strong relationship with New York’s banking community has been critical to ACCION’s impact and success—of the $7.6 million the organization has lent year-to-date, $1.4 million has resulted from a strategic partnership with area banks whereby the customers they cannot immediately finance are referred to ACCION. 

Ms. Joann Soto, ACCION client and proud owner of J.S. Imports was referred to ACCION New York by her Citibank branch for alternative financing and technical assistance.  As a speaker at the event, Ms. Soto explained that the “ACCION loan had incredible impact, not only on the business, but also on the livelihood of so many others� that she employs locally.

Mr. Michael Flanigan, Vice President and Director of Community Relations for Citibank saluted the work of ACCION’s management, staff, and board of directors for their work building strong households and vibrant communities.  “By facilitating and supporting the creation and strengthening of individual businesses, ACCION helps to ensure that individuals, households, families, and communities are provided with the tools to make tangible contributions to their development and sustainability. We are delighted to partner with ACCION in these endeavors,� said Mr. Flanigan.

The event also honored the banking organizations that play a crucial role in promoting alternative financing within the banking community.  Citibank was awarded the “2006 Community Development Award� for their commitment to community development through financial education and the creation of business opportunity. 

In addition, Banco Popular’s Rockefeller Branch was recognized with the “Entrepreneurial Spirit Award� for the branch’s commitment to providing alternative financing to the small business community.

About ACCION New York and Citigroup


(, the pre-eminent global financial services company has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, insurance, securities brokerage, and asset management. Major brand names under Citigroup's trademark red umbrella include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex.

(, the largest microlender in the United States, contributes to the economic development of the New York metropolitan region by providing loans and advisory services to those that do not have access to traditional sources of credit. Since its inception in 1991, ACCION New York has provided over $59 million in loans to entrepreneurs that do not have access to traditional sources of credit, lending a benchmark $13 million in 2005 alone.  Ranging from experienced restaurateurs to home-based businesses and native New Yorkers to recent immigrants, loan recipients have transformed capital into citywide economic development, positive community change, and personal empowerment.

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