Huntington Encourages Shoppers To Think Local This Holiday Season
Small businesses urged to be on guard for cyberthreats during the holidays and take steps to protect themselves
The Huntington National Bank
COLUMBUS, Ohio - With the holiday shopping season underway, Huntington National Bank (Nasdaq: HBAN; www.huntington.com) is encouraging consumers to support small businesses and shop local. According to a 2021 Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy report, there are 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S., representing 99 percent of all businesses in the country. Small businesses employ almost 47 percent of the nation’s workforce. “Locally-owned small businesses are essential to the fabric of our communities,” said Huntington’s SBA Program Director, Maggie Ference. “When small businesses succeed, so do individuals and communities. It becomes a rising tide for everyone.” In addition to providing vital goods and services, small businesses bring essential jobs to the communities they serve and drive economic development. From 1995 to 2020, small businesses accounted for 62 percent of net new job creation in the U.S., according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Because the health of local businesses and communities are so intertwined, Ference said it remains critical to shop local. “We see local business owners continuing to work hard and innovate during this difficult time. It is such an inspiration and so important that we continue to show our support.” In addition to shopping in-person or online at favorite local establishments this holiday season, there are some other ways consumers can support local businesses, like sharing an experience on social media, writing reviews and seeking out new local businesses. While some of the hurdles for small businesses have changed compared to the 2020 holiday shopping season, it continues to be a critical time to think local. “Small businesses have faced one obstacle after another since the beginning of last year, and the current supply chain and labor challenges are just the latest,” Ference said. “But that shouldn’t prevent shoppers from supporting their local businesses. Just plan ahead and have a little patience.” Huntington is committed to helping businesses thrive and ensuring its programs and support reflect the needs of people and businesses in its footprint. With the new year fast approaching, many entrepreneurs will begin pursuing their dream of starting a small business. This can be an exciting time, but one that is also filled with its share of uncertainty and challenges. For many of these entrepreneurs, one of the biggest challenges is securing the financing to start their business. Knowing the importance of small businesses to our communities, Huntington has invested in resources and programs to help business owners turn their dreams into reality. Building on its position as the nation’s No. 1 Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lender by volume, Huntington developed creative lending options and a variety of other features that will help bring relief, recovery and growth to small businesses. @Huntington_Bank encourages consumers to support small businesses and shop local this holiday season. Recognizing the barriers to banking that exist for some small businesses, Huntington has made a commitment to support minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses as part of its Lift Local Business program. The program offers loans, business planning support and other services to help small business owners achieve their goals. In the first year of the program, Huntington booked $22 million in loans, helping more than 300 minority-, women- and veteran-owned small businesses. In June, Huntington announced a five-year, $100 million extension to this program. Huntington continues to invest in its communities to support economic inclusion and to help make its customers and its communities more financially secure in the future. In June, the bank announced a new strategy to tackle social, racial, environmental and economic inequities across its footprint by committing $40 billion toward its new Strategic Community Plan. This includes expanding its small business lending programs into its new footprint following the merger with TCF Financial Corporation and committing $10 billion over five years, of which $2 billion will focus on lending to minority-owned businesses or businesses operating in majority-minority communities. “The entrepreneurial spirit remains strong in this country, and everyone deserves an opportunity at financial success,” said Ference. “Access to capital is vital for those looking to start a new business or expand their existing business, and I’m so proud of the steps Huntington has taken to provide support for underserved businesses across our footprint.” Last year, Huntington launched its Support Local video series, a customer-inspired campaign that highlights the strength and resilience of small businesses across the Midwest. The campaign documents the real-life stories of small businesses and the conversations Huntington had with owners who found creative ways to manage their businesses and support their communities during the pandemic.