Main Street Monday — Coleman 2017 Main Street Lenders of the Year

October 9, 2017

By Bob Coleman
Editor, Main Street Monday

Main Street Monday — Coleman 2017 Main Street Lenders of the Year

About the 2017 Coleman small business lending professional awards

The Coleman Report is awarding 2017 small business lending professional awards in six categories.

  • Main Street Lenders of the Year
  • SBA 7(a) Lenders of the Year
  • SBA 504 Lenders of the Year
  • Rural Small Business Lenders of the Year
  • Mission-Based Small Business Lenders of the Year
  • Emerging Leader Small Business Lenders of the Year (Under 40)

Winners are chosen from community nominations.

Our top award, Coleman 2017 Main Street Lenders of the Year is announced today for five well deserving small business lending professionals.

Last week, our Emerging Leader Awards were given to ten rising small business lending professional, men and women 40 and under.

Winners will be honored at an event, date and location to be announced shortly.

Award winners are only eligible for one award per year.

We will be announcing the winners for other categories on these dates

  • Coleman 2017 SBA 504 Lenders of the Year — Tue, October 10
  • Coleman 2017 Mission-Based Small Business Lenders of the Year — Wed, October 11
  • Coleman 2017 Rural Small Business Lenders of the Year — Mon, October 16
  • Coleman 2017 SBA 7(a) Lenders of the Year — Tue, October 17

Congratulations to this year’s 2017 Main Street Lenders of the Year!

Kurt Chilcott, President & CEO, CDC Small Business Finance, California

Kurt Chilcott is a nationally recognized leader in economic and community development and small business finance. For over 25 years, he has developed and led innovative and successful organizations and programs in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Under Chilcott’s leadership, the San Diego-headquartered CDC Small Business Finance has experienced tremendous growth, establishing offices throughout California, Arizona and Nevada and maintaining its rank as the top-volume CDC in the nation.

Chilcott has a long history of leadership in the economic development field. He currently serves on the board of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders and Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council. He is president of California Southern Small Business Development Corporation, a state-funded loan-guarantee program designed to help secure financing for small businesses and create jobs. In addition, he is a director for Neighborhood Bancorp, the holding company of Neighborhood National Bank, which provides capital to underserved communities.

Chilcott was the first co-chair of the International Economic Development Council and in 2013 received IEDC’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Economic Development. Chilcott was the last chair of the Council for Urban Economic Development (CUED), chair of the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) and president of the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED). He also has served on the boards of numerous local and state non-profit organizations.

Chilcott’s leadership and accomplishments have been recognized by his peers and industry leaders. He is both a Fellow Member and Honorary Life Member of the International Economic Development Council. Chilcott has received both the Golden Bear Award – California’s Highest Accolade for Economic Development Leadership – and the Arthur Goodman Memorial Award for commitment to underserved populations and areas. During his tenure, CDC has received the National Lender Award a record three times, most recently in 2007.

Chilcott is an expert source for local and national media developing stories on small business financing and access to capital. He received his B.A. from Harvard and holds a Master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley.

Gary Griffin, President and CEO, Capital Growth Solutions, Tennessee

Gary has been involved in all aspects of SBA lending for the past 38 years, beginning with liquidation of SBA Disaster Loans in the Jacksonville District Office of SBA. He has received numerous awards and allocates from the SBA and the Banking industry, including Financial Services Advocate of the Year (Tennessee) and being a NAGGL board member representing small banks. He is a CPA in both Tennessee and Georgia (inactive) and has served as Eastern Regional Vice President of Bank of the West, BDO for The Money Store in Tennessee, Georgia, North and South Carolina and President of Community Financial Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Volunteer Bank, Tennessee’s largest SBA lender for 10 years. He conducts numerous seminars nationally for the SBA and Lender Organizations on all things SBA.

“It is with great pleasure that I submit this letter in support of Mr. Gary E. Griffin’s nomination as a 2017 SBA Lending Professional. I have known Gary for thirty years. During the years Gary has always been the go to person when I have questions about SBA lending. His knowledge of SBA requirements and how to structure loans that are properly documented is unsurpassed. He is recognized by the financial services industry as an authority on SBA lending. Gary has assisted me in the development of the SBA lending function in my current bank and in several organizations over the years. In my tenure as the President of community banks and as the President of a multi-community bank holding company, I have always known Gary Griffin to conduct himself professionally and with the highest ethical standards. Gary is an active volunteer at CHI Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He visits with elderly patients at the hospital and its satellite facilities. He is well received and well-liked by the patients and staff. Gary is well-deserving of the recognition as an SBA Lending Professional.”
J. Sherman Barnett, President and CEO of Community National Bank

Ami Kassar, President & CEO, Multifunding, Pennsylvania

To support this nomination, I would like to present Ami’s SBA portfolio from the onset of opening the doors at MultiFunding, the business he founded 7 years ago – Ami and his team have serviced 130 SBA loans totaling over $82.1MM with $13MM this year alone! He is proud to have been able to help so many businesses nationally and looks forward to expanding those numbers as the company pipeline for SBA deals should double this year.

Ami works with many entrepreneurial groups across the country. Here is what one of those group leaders had to say, “Ami came up to me at our annual meeting in Florida to let me know that he had just reached out to a member of my group who had posted a need on our intranet. He was experiencing a shutdown of his Bank of America line of credit and was looking for guidance. This member had been to six SBA lenders and been rejected six times. Ami and his group started a process and within 90-days had refinanced a $1.1 million loan and added a $350,000 line of credit at a low rate through the SBA. Not only did he save my member from this challenge, he also helped save a 14 year old family business and 41 jobs.
Kate Stackhouse, Chief Marketing Officer, Multifunding

Barbara Morrison, President & CEO, TMC Development, California

Barbara Morrison is a trailblazer to the fullest extent of the word. She entered the workforce at a time when employment opportunities for women were limited. Barbara landed a job as the only female on the trading desk at a firm in San Francisco. From the trading desk, Barbara went to the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Economic Development as an unpaid intern. It was there that she first learned about the Small Business Administration’s loan programs and was selected to help develop and implement the city’s first SBA loan program.

In 1981, Barbara founded TMC Financing. She felt starting her own company was the best to make a true impact. Under Barbara’s leadership, TMC Financing has positively influenced communities all over California and Nevada. TMC helps small business owners gain access to capital via the SBA 504 loan program. The program strives to spread the wealth to small business owners, helping them grow their business and obtain affordable financing. Since its inception, TMC has funded projects worth more than $9 billion across California and Nevada, benefitting 5,000 businesses and creating about 60,000 jobs.

A local example of TMC’s impact can be seen in the Laurel District in East Oakland which has been named the “Best Completely Re-Imagined Neighborhood.” In the 1960s, Macarthur Boulevard was Oakland’s major thoroughfare until the construction of I-580. Since then, Macarthur Boulevard has become a commercial center and is now the home of many local businesses. In one block of the Laurel District, TMC helped finance building acquisitions for four businesses, including a family-owned Ace Hardware, a farm-to-table diner, a dentistry and a flourishing BBQ joint.

As a mother of two, Barbara believes that it is imperative to create a work environment accepting and encouraging of women and has always made this a priority for TMC Financing. Today, more than 50 percent of TMC Financing’s employees are women. TMC has been honored multiple times on the list of “Bay Area’s Best Places to Work” in the San Francisco Business Times, an accomplishment of which Barbara is most proud.

Barbara is also the founder of Working Solutions, a Bay Area micro-lender that provides underserved entrepreneurs with the access to capital and resources needed to start or grow a successful business. Working Solutions prioritizes low-income individuals, women, and minorities. Their clients are 59 percent women-owned businesses, 45 percent minority-owned businesses, and nearly 86 percent of their clients have low-or moderate income. Since its founding in 1999, Working Solutions has funded over 500 loans, helped create 188 startups and educated over 13,000 entrepreneurs. Several of Working Solutions clients have graduated and come to TMC for larger scale financing for building acquisition.

Barbara is also a founding board member of the Renaissance Entrepreneur Center, an economic development agency that has helped over 10,000 men and women achieve economic freedom by guiding them to bring their small business to fruition/market. Since 1985, the organization has been offering small business consulting, training and access to capital and networks to Bay Area entrepreneurs. The majority of their clients are women and people of color. About 90% of all their clients are lower income and a percentage of them are living with a disability.

Barbara inspires others with her wisdom and optimism. She shares her life experiences because she believes it is important for tomorrow’s leaders to learn from the past and to recognize how much progress has been made. She is an incredible role model to her current and former employees. Many employees at TMC have followed in her footsteps in supporting women in business and have joined CRE groups where the membership is predominantly male.
James Woolwine, Chairman, Presidio Bank

Evan Singer, CEO, SmartBiz, California

Evan Singer is the CEO of SmartBiz Loans the largest online marketplace that connects SBA preferred lenders with small business owners seeking capital. SmartBiz became the #1 facilitator of traditional SBA 7(a) loans under $350K for the 2016 government fiscal year. Since it began in 2013, SmartBiz has had a compound annual growth rate of 343%.

In a March 2016 interview on the Coleman Small Business Lending Podcast, Evan sums up the mission of SmartBiz Loans, “…we make SBA loans easy. That is at the core of our brand. That is what we are all about. We make them easy for small businesses, we make them easy for banks. In so doing we are building our brand and products around making SBA easy.” Evan’s work leading SmartBiz has made SBA loans more accessible to small business owners and has even raised the profile of the SBA in the small business community’s mind; in fact, more than 60% of business owners who use SmartBiz have a more positive view of SBA loans overall after their experience with SmartBiz

Under Evan’s leadership, SmartBiz has made smaller SBA loans economically feasible for banks. Banking partners report that the SmartBiz platform helps them process SBA loans up to 90% more efficiently, according to James Beckwith, CEO of Five Star Bank. The software assists in reducing costs so they can scale their SBA lending operations more effectively and in a compliant manner, while delivering an unparalleled customer experience of speed, ease and convenience.