L to R: Bob Sykora, Senior Commercial Loan Officer—United Federal Credit Union; Alex Grumbine, Commercial Loan Officer—United Federal Credit Union; Tony Mandarino, Director of Commercial Lending—United Federal Credit Union; Constance Logan, SBA Michigan District Director; Thomas McFadden, SBA Lender Relations Specialist.
ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Michigan District Office has named United Federal Credit Union (United) the Credit Union Lender of the Year 2018 for support of SBA-backed lending with seven SBA 7(a) loans totaling for $1.6 million in the state.
“United Federal Credit Union was named Best Credit Union Lender of the Year for being the best overall performance by a credit union 7(a) lender in Michigan,” said Constance Logan, SBA Michigan District Director. “In selecting United Federal Credit Union, consideration was given to volume, increase, area coverage, and participation in SBA programs and community activities, but it’s no denying United Federal Credit Union’s overall impact on the Michigan economy with its support of SBA-backed lending with seven SBA 7(a) loans totaling for $1.6 million.”
Across United’s entire six-state footprint, it supported ten SBA 7(a) loans in 2018 totaling $2.04 million. The credit union has helped secure SBA funding for small business owners in a wide variety of industries, including restaurateurs, optometrists, and family-owned shops.
“Last Spring I decided to step away from the corporate world and into my own business,” said Kellye Wilson, owner of Perennial Accents in St. Joseph, Michigan. “The United Federal Credit Union team made my perception of an arduous process of obtaining an SBA loan very streamlined and obtainable. Their approach took a lot of the anxiety and stress of the process away, because I knew exactly what to expect and the timeline to expect it in. They proved that they really care about the community.”
The 7(a) loan program is the SBA's primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. It offers flexibility, longer terms and potentially lower down payments compared to other traditional financing options.
In addition to SBA 7(a) loans, United has also partnered with Cornerstone Alliance in Benton Harbor, Michigan—a non-profit, economic development organization—to offer micro loans that provide additional support to help start-up organizations get the financing they need.
“There is a ton of effort that goes into starting a small business,” said Rob Cleveland, President and CEO of Cornerstone Alliance. “Typically the financing piece is the largest portion [of starting a small business], and it takes creativity in a lot of these instances because small businesses aren’t all cookie-cutter or easily financed. So United has been a great partner with us in getting some unique projects done.”
At the end of 2018, United’s total business portfolio included $356.5 million in loans and $166.4 million in deposits.
“I’m really proud of our commercial lending team for the dedication they have to our business members,” said James Knight, United’s Senior Vice President of National Sales and Service. “United believes in listening to our members and finding solutions that not only help them achieve their business dream, but that also have a positive impact on our community. It’s an amazing feeling to work alongside the small business owners of southwest Michigan and offer programs that keep the entrepreneurial spirit alive in the communities we serve.”