Magic Johnson’s Life Insurance Company Reportedly Funding $100 Million In Small Business Loans
May 20, 2020 by Lisette Voytko
Former NBA all-star Magic Johnson told the Wall Street Journal that his life insurance company will provide $100 million in funding for small women and minority owned businesses as part of the Small Business Administration’s embattled Paycheck Protection Program.
The loans are being offered through a partnership of Johnson’s EquiTrust Life Insurance Co. and MBE Capital Partners, a New Jersey-based nonbank lender that specializes in financing businesses owned by women and minorities.
Johnson said he heard that small businesses were struggling to obtain PPP loans in news reports.
But Johnson’s former team, the Los Angeles Lakers (he played 13 seasons for them, and was their president of basketball operations) was among a number of larger companies that were able to obtain the loans, news that received heated criticism.
MBE’s chief executive, Rafael Martinez, had received complaints from clients who couldn’t get loans from the PPP’s first round of funding; reports later revealed that some lenders prioritized businesses with whom they had existing relationships.
Martinez told the WSJ that Johnson’s $100 million commitment will first be used for the 5,000 PPP loans his company has approved so far.
“This is, when you think about it, life and death for so many business owners. They have nowhere else to turn,” Johnson told the WSJ.