CLAYTON — Ten banks have kicked in $500,000 to an interest-free loan fund for small businesses operated by the region’s economic development organizations.

The contribution brings the fund’s total capital to $1.25 million. The city’s St. Louis Development Corporation and the St. Louis County-oriented St. Louis Economic Development Partnership last month contributed the initial $750,000 to launch the loan fund.

“Recognizing the extreme pressure small businesses are under right now and the importance of dollars flowing quickly into the community, we are appreciative that these banks have stepped up to provide immediate support of small businesses in St. Louis,” Partnership CEO Rodney Crim said in a statement.

The zero-interest loans are intended to provide up to $5,000 for working capital for any businesses in the city or county, with repayment over two years. Officials hope the capital can help serve as a bridge until more money begins flowing to employers through the emergency Small Business Administration loan program approved by Congress. The St. Louis County Port Authority may also consider adding to the fund. 

Banks who joined the Partnership and SLDC to provide support to small businesses include: Busey Bank, Commerce Bank, Enterprise Bank & Trust, First Bank, Royal Banks of Missouri, UMB Bank, Central Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis Bank, Carrollton Bank and Simmons Bank.

To find more information on the local program, or learn more about the new federal programs, visit a new hotline at 314-615-1777, or email

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