Arvest Opportunity Fund distributed $4.4M in loans in its first year

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 472 views 

Arvest Opportunity Fund, a subsidiary of Fayetteville-chartered Arvest Bank, assisted 181 small business customers with $4.4 million in loans during its first 12 months. The company shared the details in a news release Tuesday (Sept. 19).

Launched in August 2022 across four states, the program provides loans, lines of credit, and financial education to small businesses that don’t meet traditional bank credit requirements.

The program acts as a bridge for customers to eventually access traditional bank products and services.

Hillis Schild, executive director of the Arvest Opportunity Fund, expressed pride in helping small businesses access capital and emphasized the importance of their finance and education approach.

“We believe our approach to investing in people through finance and education is effective in helping our customers achieve their financial goals,” she said. “We also understand economic uncertainty may be causing some people to hesitate when it comes to starting or expanding a business. We encourage anyone in this position to explore their options. A conversation with a local banker is a good starting point.”

According to the news release, loans from the Arvest Opportunity Fund are based on Arvest’s Small Business Underwriting (SBU) standards, with applicants not meeting Arvest Bank loan policy requirements being considered for funding.

Loan recipients are required to undergo financial education coaching for 12 months, resulting in an average credit score increase of more than 50 points.

Ron Witherspoon, president of Arvest Bank in central Arkansas, highlights the fund’s significance in supporting local small businesses and the region’s economic health.

“We’re continually searching for new ways to support the needs of our local small businesses and the Arvest Opportunity Fund is a great example of that,” he said.