CHARLOTTE – Bank of America is launching a $20 million Veteran Entrepreneur Lending Program to connect U.S. military veteran business owners with affordable capital to help kick-start and grow their companies.

“Helping our veterans translate their skills and become entrepreneurs driving the U.S. economy is one of the ways Bank of America is thanking them for their service,” said CEO Brian Moynihan in a statement.

Participating community development financial institutions (CDFs) – nonprofits with expertise in lending to small businesses and an understanding of local circumstances such as economic and job creation opportunities – will administer the loans, BOA said.

In addition to capital, the BOA Charitable Foundation will provide $1.3 million in grants over two years to help the CDFs manage operating costs. BOA is the largest investor in CDFs, with more than $1.6 billion in financing to more than 260 across all 50 states.

The Carolina Small Business Development Fund will administer the loans in NC as the program kicks-off in seven states, that also include Colorado, New York, California, Texas, and Oklahoma.

Prior to receiving a loan, borrowers will participate in a two-month training program led by learning partners who offer technical assistance and other resources to help them stay on a path of success and grow their businesses.

BOA is hosting an event, “Empowering Small Businesses to Drive Economic Growth” on Capitol Hill Friday, June 7.