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Editorial: Carver Legacy Center will address a key need in North Omaha

Editorial: Carver Legacy Center will address a key need in North Omaha

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From left, Wende and John Kotouc, with American National Bank, and Carver Legacy Center founders Yolanda and Willie Barney, and Lynnell and Martin Williams. The six have partnered to create a new financial institution aimed at growing Black wealth, and home and business ownership. They hope to open the Carver Legacy Center at the end of September.

Access to capital — money — fuels opportunity and economic growth. Inability to access such funding stifles those chances for progress. This obstacle has long stymied economic progress for many Black Americans, including in Omaha.

In North Omaha, residents should begin to see a welcome turnaround on that score, thanks to creation of a new enterprise, the Carver Legacy Center. Through a partnership with American National Bank, the center will provide a range of services enabling residents to receive credit and capital.

It’s fitting that the center will be located in the Carver Savings and Loan Building at 2414 Lake St., where the first Black-owned financial institution in Omaha opened in the 1940s.

National studies have long described the problems that Black residents and entrepreneurs face in trying to access capital. Minority-owned businesses are about three times as likely to be denied loans as are comparable nonminority businesses, research shows.

African Americans are 37% more likely than nonminorities to avoid applying for credit for fear of rejection, a 2013 study found. Among minority businesses expressing a need for credit, more than half reported not applying for loans because they feared being denied, according to a national survey.

One of Omaha’s central needs is the expansion of opportunity for all residents. The Carver Legacy Center can play a key role in helping achieve that much-needed progress.

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