SULAM Loan Fund

Entity: CJAED (Center for Jewish-Arab Economic Development)
Project Type: Core
Duration of Support: Ongoing (2006 - )

CJAED together with Koret Israel Economic Development Fund (KIEDF) launched the SULAM Joint Loan Fund in partnership with Mercantile Discount Bank in August 2004.

The fund helps Arab citizens of Israel secure bank loans to start new businesses or expand existing ones. Sulam enables more and more Israeli Arabs to participate productively in the Israeli economy, and acquire a more concrete stake in Israel's future. For a variety of reasons, not limited to discrimination and a lack of personal connections in the financial community, many talented Arab entrepreneurs struggle to obtain conventional financing for their businesses. The inclusion of Arabs into the mainstream of Israel’s economy can only serve to benefit Israeli society as a whole.

In 2006, the Olivestone Trust and the Jewish Federation of New York joined the fund, which - together with Mercantile Discount Bank's efforts to extend its cooperation - have doubled the fund's annual lending capacity.

In early 2007, Mercantile Discount Bank began promoting the fund in 16 additional branches - spread from the far North of Israel to Rahat in the Negev, joining the Acre and Nazareth branches - and also dropped the leverage ratio of the deposit to 15% from about 35%.

In 2008, Koret foundation withdrew from the Sulam fund, whose management reverted to CJAED.

Cedric Olivestone, Board Member of the Olivestone Trust, is a member of the credit committee of SULAM.