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Citizens Invests $5 Million to be Split between New Community Development Financial Institution and Small Business Lending

Press Release
March 11, 2021

$2.5M to go to Invest PGH, a newly certified CDFI serving City of Pittsburgh businesses; $2.5M to go to the URA to increase business lending capacity

PITTSBURGH, PA (March 11, 2021) The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that Citizens has invested $2.5 million in the City of Pittsburgh’s new Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and $2.5 million in the URA’s business lending programs to increase capacity

“I want to thank Citizens for this critical investment and their valued leadership in the Pittsburgh community,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker. “This funding demonstrates the kind of much-needed public-private partnerships that ensure we have resources to support the recovery and growth of small businesses in the region.”

Invest PGH is a newly certified CDFI that spun out of the URA as a stand-alone nonprofit lending entity. It received certification on February 24, 2021.

Created in 2020, Invest PGH seeks to fundraise and provide capital and technical assistance for small businesses located in the City of Pittsburgh. Invest PGH's Micro-Enterprise Loan program (formerly housed in the URA) provides funds for micro-borrowers to start up or expand their businesses. It also serves as a clearinghouse for resources and tools for these small businesses. 

Citizens’ support of Invest PGH will be used to assist small businesses across the city, with a focus on under-resourced areas.  

“Citizens is committed to helping small businesses, which are key employers and powerful economic engines,” said Mark Rendulic, Pittsburgh Market President, Citizens. “Our growing partnership with the URA aims to help support entrepreneurs, especially in underserved communities, and build a broader, stronger foundation for prosperity in Pittsburgh.”

With this investment from Citizens, Invest PGH is launching a new loan program, the Accelerating Business Expansion Loan (ABEL), which will provide loan capital up to $150,000 for new and existing businesses to stimulate growth. The ABEL provides market-rate financing for small- to medium-sized commercial businesses for real estate purchase, pre-development, development or construction; furniture, fixtures, equipment, inventory, and machinery; and working capital. Loan terms are up to 5 years for working capital, up to 7 years for equipment, up to 15 years for leasehold improvement, and up to 20 years for real estate; interest rate is 4%.

“I want to thank Citizens for their generous support of Invest PGH,” said Rebecca Davidson-Wagner, president of Invest PGH. “This funding will allow us to expand beyond our current Micro Loan product and meet larger capital needs of local businesses as they struggle to recover from the damaging effects of the pandemic. It is the first step in building out a suite of lending products.

“Our plan is for Invest PGH to eventually expand into affordable housing preservation and create affordable homeownership opportunities through lending support to the community and socially-driven developers,” said Davidson-Wagner, “but at the moment our active programs focus on business loans.” 

Citizens is also investing $2.5M in the URA's business lending programs, which will increase lending capacity.  

“The URA is very grateful for this investment as well as Citizens’ commitment to small businesses,” said Jennifer Wilhelm, URA director of commercial lending. “At a time when many lending institutions are pulling back on funding small businesses, the URA is increasing its capital deployment. The Citizens investment will support this effort, allowing us to help more businesses recover and grow.”  

In addition to the $5 million investment, Citizens provided a $200,000 grant to the URA in April to help small businesses survive the pandemic, and a $5,000 grant to help sponsor the Black Business Relief Fund.

Invest PGH is running a capital campaign and continuing to look for like-minded partners who care deeply about supporting businesses and development in under-resourced areas. Potential partners interested in learning more, or contributing to Invest PGH, should contact Becky Davidson-Wagner at Visit

About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, supporting the City’s economic development goals, which are designed to create a city of inclusive opportunity for residents, stakeholders, and communities. The URA is committed to creating more housing that is affordable to the average Pittsburgher; encouraging more entrepreneurship and small business development; promoting inclusive growth and quality job creation; expanding neighborhood and main streets revitalization efforts; and developing a talented workforce that is equipped with the skills of the future.



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