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First Bank invests $500,000 into Justine Petersen’s small-business loan program

ST. LOUIS – First Bank has invested $500,000 into Justine Petersen’s Emerging Markets Loan Fund to be used for micro- to medium-sized loans to small businesses in under-resourced areas of Southern Illinois and Eastern Missouri.

firstbanklogoThe revolving loan fund falls under the lending of Justine Petersen’s wholly owned and operated Community Development Financial Institution.

“Community partners like Justine Petersen allow us to take a strategic approach in providing our services to a broader community,” said Joe Ambrose, vice chairman, First Bank. “By investing in this fund, we’re able to efficiently reach small businesses outside our physical footprint and help meet their credit needs through the delivery channels Justine Petersen provides throughout the region.”

Justine Petersen, a St. Louis-based nonprofit, assists low- to moderate-income individuals and families to develop, maintain and increase financial assets. Additionally, it is the nation’s largest micro-lender for the U.S. Small Business Administration. With the Emerging Markets Loan Fund, Justine Petersen acts as a port of entry to mainstream finance for borrowers who are considered to be not bankable.

Small-business owners who are unable to access credit from larger financial institutions for a variety of reasons – such as credit score, debt-to-income ratio and more – can qualify for loans through the CDFI. Then, as they build their bankable credentials and raise their credit score, those clients are graduated back into mainstream finance. The CDFI lending model is uniquely structured to provide both social and financial return through the capital contributions of investors.

“First Bank’s commitment to reinvesting in the community through our Emerging Markets Loan Fund represents a forward thinking approach to growing independently owned businesses,” said Robert Boyle, founder and CEO, Justine Petersen. “The safe and affordable capital offered by our CDFI provides vital support to a huge number of under resourced business owners in our community. We look forward to introducing other institutions and organizations to the possibility of social impact investing through our CDFI.”

For more information about First Bank’s commitment to the community, visit For more information about Justine Petersen, visit


About First Bank
First Bank, a subsidiary of FB Corporation, is one of the largest privately owned banks in the country. As a family-owned business with four generations of independent, single-family ownership, First Bank has more than $6 billion in assets and 94 locations throughout California, Missouri and Illinois. Visit

About Justine Petersen
Justine Petersen was created in 1997 to connect institutional resources with the needs of low- to moderate-income families and individuals in order to build assets and create enduring change. It furthers the legacy of St. Louis social worker Justine M. Petersen and partners with mainstream financial institutions, public entities and philanthropic organizations to impact the lives of families throughout the United States through credit building, home ownership and small business development. Visit

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