Carver Federal Savings Bank in New York announced a loan program for small businesses on Monday.

The $754 million-asset bank is providing businesses with loans and lines of credit of up to $15,000 at "competitive rates" through the Cash Access Loans program. It created the program in response to demand from customers across the New York boroughs who need access to capital but are unable or unwilling to pay the high interest rates or hidden costs that tend to come with credit cards or payday lenders and other alternative providers, Blondel Pinnock, its chief lending officer, said in a news release.

The program also offers small businesses secured loans up to $5,000 and overdraft lines of credit up to $1,500.

"Our lending business is designed to promote economic growth and create jobs in the communities we serve," Pinnock said in the release. "We reinvest more than 80 cents of each dollar deposited with Carver back into the communities we serve including dollars lent through our Cash Access Loans program."

Customers can apply for personal loans through the program of up to $1,500, secured loans up to $5,000 and overdraft lines of credit up to $1,500. Pinnock said the bank aims to turn decisions around within 72 hours. If approved, customers typically will have up to 12 months to repay loans and up to five months for secured loans.

Carver plans to make referrals to the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs' Offices of Financial Empowerment, which provide free one-on-one counseling to help customers improve their credit scores.

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