There are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the United States that contribute $1.1 trillion in receipts annually, according to the Small Business Administration. In Kentucky alone, of the roughly 340,746 small businesses, nearly 10 percent are identified as veteran owned.
As women and men in the U.S. Armed Services risk their lives and encounter multiple deployments around the world, Citizens Union Bank has made an intentional decision on the home front to support and nurture military families, especially as loved ones return and re-enter civilian life.
Financial tools and expertise offered
“As citizens and as a financial institution, our gratitude and admiration for these amazing men and women is enormous,” says Kim Dodson, manager of treasury services and CUB vice president. “When they return home after fulfilling their duty, entrepreneurship and launching their own businesses is often an ideal path. Because of their military experience, veteran business owners are comfortable with risk, are great problem solvers, and their sense of commitment and determination is prevailing.”
That’s why CUB, along with its partner, First Data, is proud to offer “CUB Salutes.” The specially designed program for veteran entrepreneurs offers bundled and reduced pricing on cash management tools and merchant services. Whether it’s a working capital line of credit, credit cards, equipment financing, or Automated Clearing House (ACH) origination, CUB forms close relationships with its veteran clients to help them identify their financing needs.
“This is where working with a community bank makes a difference,” Dodson says. “Veterans have access to our time and expertise as they plan and build the financial infrastructure of their businesses. CUB feels strongly committed to ‘giving back’ in this way.”
Initiative is a partnership with First Data
CUB’s partner in this initiative, Atlanta-headquartered First Data, feels much the same.
“I served 24 years in the Navy and my spouse did that very long tour with me,” says Tem Frierson, vice president of Veterans Business Initiatives at First Data. “We have a culture here that salutes veterans.”
Frierson echoed Dodson’s sentiments that former military personnel make ideal entrepreneurs.
“Veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active duty military experience to be self-employed,” Frierson says. “We’ve found that entrepreneurship is a very viable way to facilitate re-entry.”
First Data has 6 million merchant locations worldwide and offers a suite of 250 business solutions by capturing data from point-of-sale terminals. “We offer a vast array of data services that provide inventory and employee management, tax assistance, marketing and technology solutions.”
Frierson adds, “A lot of the things that keep owners up at night, that cause anxiety — we can provide solutions for these.”
Everything from logging employees’ hours to identifying most popular products and everything in between, First Data and CUB crunch numbers and provide insights into the inner workings of a business. They then offer cash management and financial tools to reduce the cost of doing business.
Support extended to veterans’ organizations
CUB and First Data also work closely with veterans’ organizations through volunteer efforts and job placement. Dodson is an Ambassador for USA Cares, a national nonprofit military organization headquartered in Radcliff, Kentucky, that provides emergency assistance to military families with a commitment to respond within 48 hours.
In addition to veterans, both CUB and First Data are passionate about hiring and assisting veterans’ spouses and family members.
“Veterans and their families have served us, and now it is our turn to serve them,” Dodson says.
Interested in learning more?
Veteran-owned businesses that are interested in learning more about CUB’s financial planning services can call Kim Dodson at (502) 643-1476