Coleman Report: NADCO President Beth Solomon on 504 Lending

January 29, 2013

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Coleman Report

We sat down with NADCO President Beth Solomon (virtually) and discussed the current lending environment for the 504 market.

Here is the Q&A

Bob Coleman: We’re talking with Beth Solomon, the new President and CEO of NADCO, the SBA 504 Trade Association. Beth, welcome to our little niche of the world.

Beth Solomon: Thank you. Well, I’m glad to be here in lights, camera, action with you, Bob.

Bob: Ah, well you’re very gracious. Beth was previously with IFA, International Franchise Association where she was a Vice President. She has a number of years in the industry so you are going to be a great advocate for Main Street and for SBA lending. Tell us about what is on the table for NADCO in 2013.

Beth: Well thank you, Bob. It’s a very exciting opportunity and of course I got to know NADCO because I had led the Credit Access Initiative at the IFA. When I came to the IFA in early 2011 credit access was the number one problem facing the industry and they hired me to really tackle this. And we started a series of outreach efforts and offering tools and solutions; a Small Business Lending Summit, which we will be hosting again this coming March in Washington to really raise the profile of Small Business lending and make the connection for policy makers of how it creates jobs and that the SBA Lending Programs really need to be supported, especially at this time in our economy. As far as NADCO’s goals for this year and our major initiative, we’d like to double loan volume in the 504 program by 2016. It’s an ambitious goal; but we can get there and we want it to engage the entire industry to do that. And if we were able to do that it would offer all kinds of advantages to us. Number two, we need to raise the profile of the program and of the Small Business Lenders who participate in it; and the 12 businesses we have that are creating jobs and retaining jobs every single day. I was just watching your interview with Chris Hurn and he’s written a book about it; it’s still one of the best kept secrets, the 504 program, in the lending world.

Bob: Absolutely; you’re absolutely correct.

Beth: Everyone loves the program though very few people know about it. And speaking of the Franchise community, we see that there are many, many franchisees using the 504 program, but very few franchisors will offer it systematically when they’re talking about finance options for their potential franchise partners. So we’re going to be going to the IFA convention with a contingent of CDCs and lenders. We’ve also got a reasonable outreach effort going where we’re going to be bringing franchisors, lenders, and CDCs together around the country. The franchise strategy is one of the ways we’re going to get to that doubling of loan volume and raising the profile of what we’re doing. The third piece that we need to work on is making sure that all our CDCs have the training and the support they need to reach a level of standards, operational standards. We’re going to be launching an enhanced training program; we’re going to be talking about some certifications and other programs where to help CDCs understand the roadmap of how they get to A++. And that will be an industry effort that launches this year.

Bob: Well Beth Solomon, congratulations on your appointment. I know you’re going to be a strong advocate for Main Street and for the SBA 504 loan program. From Washington, DC, the President and new CEO of NADCO. Thank you.

Beth: Thanks so much for having me, Bob.