Chase Manhattan Bank opened a small-business resource center in Brooklyn to raise the bank's local profile and attract more entrepreneurs.
The Brooklyn center is modeled after a two-year-old Manhattan center where Chase's business banking officers act as consultants to small- business owners.
"In the branch they could get some consulting services, but not the same amount of detail or time that they would get at the center," said Joseph Scharfenburger, Chase's executive vice president for commercial and professional banking.
Chase bankers can help with problem solving, strategic planning, preparing a loan package request, and offering advice on where and how to approach lenders.
"If we do the job right, it should lead to a business opportunity," Mr. Scharfenburger said.
About 70% of the 2,000 customers at the bank's Manhattan center are women or minority entrepreneurs, primarily in low- or moderate-income areas. The Manhattan center has generated $20 million in loans, Mr. Scharfenburger said.
He said most of the patrons are in the pre-borrowing stage when they need "living room-style consulting." Mr. Scharfenburger described the staff as "street bankers" who work well with local community group.
The business resource center has a library of business publications and free literature, as well as a directory of other programs to help small- business owners.
The business center is part of Chase's community investment commitment to lend or invest $3.4 billion in small businesses and nonprofit organizations.