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Business Without Barriers: How TD Bank Helps LGBTQ2+ Business Owners Be Their True Selves
When you’re a business owner, it’s often necessary to have frank and open conversations with your financial professional. By freely discussing your opportunities, challenges and frustrations, your banker can gain a much better understanding of the inner workings of your business and recommend the financial solutions that are right for you.
However, some business owners don’t feel comfortable offering full disclosure to their bankers—including many LGBTQ2+ individuals. They’re simply not open to being “out” to their financial professionals, which can lead to a lack of transparency, poor planning and misguided advice based on incomplete information. In addition, credit discrimination is still a sad reality. Until March 2021, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued an interpretative rule clarifying sex discrimination under Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and Regulation B, it was legal in 35 states for bankers to decline a loan based on the sexual orientation of the applicant.
A groundbreaking program for the LGBTQ2+ community
Realizing this situation and wanting every business owner to be properly represented and understood, TD Bank created a program specifically to reach out to the LGBTQ2+ business community. To date, TD remains the only financial institution in the U.S. with a program of this kind.
“TD is really removing barriers here and allowing individuals to be their authentic selves as they discuss their businesses and their financial picture with us,” said Steve Garibell, Vice President and LGBTQ2+ Business Development Officer. “We’re telling people that we want to help every business owner, no matter who you are and what kind of challenges you’re facing.”
The bank has a long history of welcoming diverse communities. For example, TD was the first bank in North America to offer same-sex couples spousal benefits. Now, this tradition continues by lending an ear and providing a welcoming environment to business owners who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans or as part of other identities or communities.
“We see ourselves as much more than just bankers,” said Garibell. We’re a source of trusted advice for businesses that urgently need a voice and an advocate.”
TD believes that, by allowing customers to be their true selves, they can become stronger business owners, build more successful companies and provide economic benefits to the larger economy.
Opening doors to certifications, opportunities and revenue
Helping business owners receive the right financial solutions is only the beginning. Another key aspect of the program involves educating LGBTQ2+ individuals on the Diverse Business Certifications available to them. A wide range of organizations—from the federal government to state governments to Fortune 500 companies—have made commitments to awarding a percentage of their contracts to diverse-owned businesses. Examples of Diverse Business Certifications include:
- LGBT Business Enterprise
- Minority owned
- Woman owned
- Veteran owned
- Service-disabled veteran owned
- Disability owned
- HUB Zone Business
- SBA Business
Joining together to lift up LGBTQ2+ businesses
TD has developed close relationships with organizations like the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), which can provide further assistance to LGBTQ2+ businesses.
"As I’ve worked to pass more than twenty LGBTQ2+ inclusive laws and policies in more than a dozen states across America, I regularly encourage business owners to take advantage of not just LGBTBE certification from the NGLCC, but also the unique suite of services offered specifically for our communities from TD Bank,” said Jonathan Lovitz, LGBTQ2+ Business Advocate and TD Bank Pride Thought Leader. “Knowing your business is being supported by those with the personal passions and understanding of what our communities need is such a valuable differentiator in the marketplace.” The bank also works closely with Community Development Financial institutions (CDFIs), which are private financial institutions dedicated to affordable lending for marginalized people and communities. CDFIs can help TD clients gain access to capital and technical assistance programs that can be crucial in helping them grow their businesses.
"Even the savviest of small business owners cannot be experts in everything,” said Scott Mason, Principal at Scott Mason LLC. “As an LGBTQ2+ business owner who has chosen TD Bank as his chief financial partner for two businesses, I have been blown away by its commitment to my business success, particularly after banking experiences where the institution appeared not to care at all. The relationship nurturing at TD isn't just transactional. It's been there for the long-haul."
It’s all part of TD’s empathetic approach to banking
TD Bank has a longtime reputation for going above and beyond for customers, from longer hours to attentive service to new ways of making banking easier. They call it being “Unexpectedly Human.”
“Traditionally, financial institutions have segmented their markets by products, from mortgage bankers to business bankers,” said Garibell. “Now, we’re taking a community-based approach to this particular customer segment, which allows us to better identify their needs, connect to them more authentically and help them become more successful business owners as a result.”
To learn more about the program, call Steve Garibell, Vice President and LGBTQ2 Business Development Officer, at 212-918-4186 or Steven.Garibell@td.com.
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