Robert Villarreal, of FE Small Business Finance, Elected to Opportunity Finance Network Board

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December 11, 2021

Robert Villarreal — president of the Bankers Small Business FE of California, a CDFI affiliated with leading lender FE Small Business Finance — has been elected to Opportunity Finance Network’s board of directors.

A longtime advocate of helping underserved small business owners, Villarreal brings 20-plus years of economic development and nonprofit experience to his new role. At FE Small Business Finance, he also serves as the organization’s executive vice president.


Opportunity Finance Network, or OFN, is a national trade group of CDFIs, or community development financial institutions. The organization’s focus is to promote the interests of all CDFIs; these are entities designed to deliver affordable small-business financing to historically disadvantaged groups including women, minorities and low-income individuals.

As a newly elected member of its board, Villarreal is excited to soak in as much as possible from fellow board members, and share his knowledge and experience to bolster policy that supports the health and vitality of CDFIs nationwide.

“As FE Small Business Finance grows and since the purchase of our CDFI two years ago, it’s now an excellent time to get more active in this great organization,” Villarreal said.

More on Bankers Small Business FE of California


Founded in 1992, the Bankers Small Business FE of California, the CDFI, had always been managed by FE Small Business Finance but was previously owned by 20-plus private banks.

FE Small Business Finance purchased the CDFI in 2016, with the aim of broadening the company’s loan offerings to underserved communities.

Related: How We’re Getting More Business Capital To Underinvested San Diego Areas

Since the purchase, the CDFI has launched new loan products helping targeted groups, published an eye-opening study on the promise of financing Latino-owned small businesses in California, and grown the loan portfolio by more than 200 percent, Villarreal said.


Since it was founded,Bankers Small Business FE of California has provided $14.7 million in business loans to more than 200 small businesses.

More on Opportunity Finance Network

Opportunity Finance Network’s board of directors. Courtesy of OFN

Villarreal joins four other members of the Opportunity Finance Network’s board of directors. They are:

  • David Beck, policy director at Self-Help Credit Union.
  • Betsy Biemann, chief executive of Coastal Enterprises, Inc.
  • Marla Bilonick, executive director of the Latino Economic Development Center.
  • Pearl Wicks, senior vice president of retail operations of Hope Community Credit Union.

Opportunity Finance Network, or OFN, is a nationwide association of community development financial institutions whose membership includes CDFIs, banks, credit unions and others.


Related: 3 Ways We’re Empowering Hispanic Business Owners To Close $1T Revenue Gap

According to OFN, CDFIs are a $150 billion business where community-minded lenders not only provide much-needed financing to underserved entrepreneurs, they also spark jobs, community revitalization and affordable housing.


FE Small Business Finance, a leading lender and nonprofit, is a proud supporter of all entrepreneurs, especially those who have been historically underserved, including women, minorities and military veterans. We offer several affordable, sustainable loan options for business owners of all types, stages and backgrounds.

Tell our loan experts about your business, and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.


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