ABA Banking Journal - September 2011 - (Page 60)

First person | alice dittman Once a banker, always a banker Retired Nebraskan donates $1 million for microloan fund Sometimes the planets line up just right and new ideas get born. Alice Dittman made many loans during her long banking career. Some weren’t on the bank’s behalf, but were instead personal loans made over her own desk—from the “Bank of Alice Dittman”—to folks who seemed to have the character to repay. Dittman usually got paid back, she says. As she neared 80, she began to think that being a onewoman “bank,” in her retirement years, wasn’t something to continue. But then, while visiting Egypt, Dittman wandered into a branch of Grameen-Jameel, part of the international microlending community that began with Grameen Bank. It got her thinking. Back home in Lincoln, Neb., Dittman was meeting with Barbara Bartle, president of the Lincoln Community Foundation, about a scholarship proVeteran banker Alice Dittman founded Alice’s Integrity Loan Fund, a nonbank gram that her family sponsors. The microlender for small business borrowers, including a beauty parlor/barber shop. need for very small business loans in ment Resources’ Deb Payne, program Lincoln came up. Dittman’s thoughts came together, and “Alice’s Integrity Loan manager, works with borrowers, in Fund” was born. Dittman, former chairman and CEO at $368.2 million-assets conjunction with volunteers, to guide Cornhusker Bank, pledged $1 million of her own to fund loans of up to $5,000 their efforts. Counseling is mandatoto qualified individuals who want to start or expand a business. The program is a ry. Dittman takes an active interest in steppingstone to the Small Business Administration’s microlending program. program operations and loans made. Inability to obtain other credit before doesn’t stand in the way of obtaining “I wanted to do this now,” said microloans from the Integrity Fund. “We will lend to an individual who has Dittman, “because I think people been through bankruptcy or even an addiction, if they can explain why that need some good news to buoy them is behind them,” says Dittman. Candidates face evaluation by four factors: up. I know the funds won’t last forCharacter, Capacity, Commitment, and Capital. ever, but I do want them to outLoans are just that, not grants. “We expect people to pay back,” explains last me.” She hopes Alice’s IntegDittman, who anticipates that her funding will thus be recycled. In time, she rity Loan Fund will inspire other hopes to see hundreds of small loans result. bankers to try similar programs for The program is intended for small businesses that need a step up to grow. small business borrowers in their For example, one borrower runs a combination beauty and barber shop and own communities. — Steve Cocheo wanted to expand her operation by one station. This required another chair, Dittman served as first woman chair a sink, and plumbing. Another borrower, a couple with a candle shop, needof ABA’s Community Bankers Couned a loan for inventory for the upcoming holiday seasons. cil, 1997-1998. Read more: http:// Borrowers pay a $25 loan processing fee and the credit carries a 6% interest tinyurl.com/alicedittman rate, which helps cover most overhead. Foundation partner Community Develop60  |  ABA BANKING JOURNAL  |  september 2011 http://tinyurl.com/alicedittman http://tinyurl.com/alicedittman

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - September 2011

ABA Banking Journal - September 2011
Contents
Chairman’s View
Editor’s Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
ABA Community Banking
Pass the Aspirin
Tech Topics
Cover Story: Mobile money at stake
Insurance revival
The long and short of annuities
Compliance Inbox
ABA Resources
ABA Annual Convention
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - September 2011

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