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Angels of Hope, serving Chaldean and Arabic communities in El Cajon, is among recent loan recipients fulfilling a dream

April 8, 2013 (El Cajon)—An El Cajon woman’s goal of providing trauma counseling to refugees in East County has been fulfilled, thanks to Wells Fargo & Company. Wells Fargo, a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses, recently announced a commitment to lend $55 billion to woman-owned businesses in the U.S. by 2020.

As part of that commitment, the company has provided a commercial real estate loan for licensed clinical social worker Bernadette Talia to purchase office space in El Cajon to house her new Angels of Hope Counseling practice. 

Talia, who is trilingual and specializes in trauma counseling, is fulfilling a vast need in the East County community, as  many residents are refugees from the Middle East and have suffered traumatic life experiences. Now she will be able to provide affordable counseling and services to individuals and families. Talia’s goal isn’t to just reach the approximate 30,000 Chaldean’s living in El Cajon, but to the whole Arabic speaking community, treating their specific mental health needs.

“My passion is to serve my local community and to help treat all individuals in need, including the Chaldean and Arabic speaking community and those suffering from traumatic life experiences, with affordable services,” said Talia. “I am so grateful to Wells Fargo for appreciating my passion, for believing in me as a woman business owner and for having the confidence that I could build a successful business and practice.”

Wells Fargo Commercial Loan Officer Sinan Battah worked with Talia to secure the loan to purchase office space in El Cajon that allowed her to start up her new practice (www.angelsofhopecounseling.com). 

Officially opened in March, Talia’s practice offers several classes and therapy groups customized to help all those in need including Aramaic and Arabic speaking individuals and families. With the financing from Wells Fargo, Talia plans to expand her business by offering more affordable counseling services including a couple’s workshop, counseling for military families and group sessions for men and women in English, Aramaic and Arabic that will address and treat their specific mental health needs.

Talia had over 11 yearse experience working at East County Mental Health Clinic before opening her own counseling service. She also worked part-time as a Clinical Director at Chaldean Middle Eastern Social Services.

"Cultural sensitivity is very important to me," said Talia, who has been a consultant and provider of cultural competency trainings regarding Iraqi issues in San Diego County.  The region is home to more than 40,000 Iraqi Chaldeans, including more Iraq War refugees than any other city in the U.S., as well as many other Middle Eastern immigrants and refugees.

“Women-owned businesses are among America’s fastest growing segments, and we are honored to support their role in shaping the future of small business,” said Steve Bernstein, Wells Fargo business banking president for Southern California. “As a leader in lending to women, Wells Fargo is dedicated to helping women business owners such as Bernadette Talia to succeed financially — in business and personally.”

Since introducing the women’s lending commitment 18 years ago, Wells Fargo has provided more than $38 billion in capital to women business owners, a group that grew in size by more than 20 percent from 2002 to 2007, according to the latest Census data.  Today, approximately 30 percent of businesses in the U.S. are owned by women, according to the National Women’s Business Council.

In addition to the cumulative lending goal, Wells Fargo supports numerous outreach efforts to build relationships with women business owners and help them to succeed financially. Wells Fargo is s supporter of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and the Women Presidents’ Organization, as well as several other organizations focused on the education, growth and advancement of women business owners. Wells Fargo provides the full array of financial products and services to satisfy all of the financial needs of women-owned businesses, such as banking, business loans and lines of credit, credit cards, payroll, merchant services, insurance, retirement planning, and online resources.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.4 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer services with offices in more than 35 countries.  Wells Fargo has loaned more money to small businesses in the United States than any other bank for 10 years running (based on 2002-2011 Community Reinvestment Act government data) and is a leading lender to women- and diverse-owned businesses.

Through the Wells Fargo Business Insight Resource Center, business owners can access an informative selection of videos and articles featuring expert advice and best practices. For more information visit wellsfargo.com/biz or call the National Business Banking Center at 1-800-CALL-WELLS.


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