Amalgamated Bank in New York is introducing a loan program for recent immigrants.

The Immigration Bridge Loan Fund aims to help skilled immigrants who are unable to practice the jobs they held in their home countries without additional training in the U.S., the bank said Tuesday.

Qualified applicants can receive loans between $1,000 and $10,000 to help pay for job training, certification and other costs associated with life in a new country. The four-year loans carry a 9.99% interest rate.

"Foreign-born residents make up more than a third of New York City's population; it's critical that we provide immigrants cost-effective ways to access funds," Andrew Weltman, the bank's first vice president of strategic development, said in a news release. "Too often, immigrants are turned away from banks because they do not have a credit history in the United States. We hope this program will demonstrate to other mainstream financial institutions that we can all benefit by offering better services to this important population."

The loan fund is part of the New York City Economic Development Corp.'s Immigrant Bridge Program, which places local, highly skilled immigrants in jobs in growing industries. Amalgamated was selected to administer the program, working alongside four nonprofits that help skilled immigrants develop career plans to increase their earning power.

"This fund … will provide immigrants with the opportunity to utilize their skills in high-demand sectors that are critical to New York City's 21st century economy," Kyle Kimball, president of the New York economic development agency, said in the release.

Amalgamated, with assets of $3.6 billion, is the largest U.S. bank that is majority-owned by a union. It offers several other financial services targeted at immigrants, including checking accounts for residents who do not have Social Security numbers and low-cost remittance services.

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