Community First Fund CEO Dan Betancourt

Dan Betancourt

Two regional community-development financial institutions – one based in Lancaster, the other based in Philadelphia – will merge July 1, it was announced this week.

The Community First Fund, based here, will combine with Finanta, which has about half the number of staff as Community First Fund.

They already know each other well. The two nonprofits have been collaborating for three years, most recently to provide $16 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans to more than 400 small business owners hurt by COVID-19.

Community First Fund president and CEO Dan Betancourt, will lead the combined organization, as Finanta founder and president Luis Mora retires after 24 years of service.

“Together we are stronger, and our combined resources can only increase the number of businesses and nonprofits we can serve in the future,” said Betancourt in a prepared statement.

The merged organizations will operate as Community First Fund.

The combination will not affect the size of their workforces or office network. All employees (40 at Community First, 18 at Finanta) and all offices (six at Community First, one at Finanta) will be retained.

Nor will the mission change, Community First said. It will continue to provide financial access to people who are overlooked by mainstream financial providers.

They predominately are first- and second-generation Latino, African and Asian immigrants, and African Americans who need financial counseling and business loans. Most of their borrowers live and work in low-income neighborhoods.

In the same vein, the merged organization will offer the same products and services as the two now do separately. Their combined market areas will form a 20-county region in Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey.

Community First brings assets of $80 million to the merger; Finanta has assets of $25 million. Their combined $105 million in assets are projected to grow to $129 million by 2024, according to Community First.

Community First was founded in 1992. Since then, it has provided over $290 million in financing to more than 1,850 borrowers. Besides its headquarters in Lancaster, it also has offices in Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Reading and York.

Finanta was founded in 1996. Since then, it has provided over $67 million in loans to more than 2,800 borrowers. Its sole office is in Philadelphia.

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