SBA lenders in San Francisco North Bay recount difficult year helping employers survive

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The Business Journal asked these seven lenders who work with North Bay firms on securing U.S. Small Business Administration funding about the struggles local employers have been facing with coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the past 14 months and navigating the sometimes challenging application process for billions in federal relief. Jeff […]

The Business Journal asked these seven lenders who work with North Bay firms on securing U.S. Small Business Administration funding about the struggles local employers have been facing with coronavirus pandemic restrictions in the past 14 months and navigating the sometimes challenging application process for billions in federal relief.

Jeff Clark

Senior Lender

Live Oak Bank

100 B St., Suite 100, Santa Rosa 95401

707-921-1102

[email protected]

Years worked in the banking business: 25 years

Years at your present position: 6 years

Tell us about yourself: I have worked with wineries, breweries, distilleries and craft beverage producers throughout the United States. My experience spans the spectrum from small family operated businesses to publicly traded companies.

Significant news at your company in the past year: In spite of the conditions, we survived and prospered.  What a year!

What has been the direct impact of the coronavirus on your level of activity?

It impacted us in several ways.  Providing PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loans occupied several months of our time taking us away from loan production.

It also impacted our borrowers with on-premise exposure, shutting many of them down for months.  We usually travel several months out of the year for site visits, trade shows, etc. and that didn’t happen.

Tell us in what ways the SBA program of aiding those have received SBA loans has been modified to lend to small business and in what ways has it had to adapt programs for those with existing SBA loans?

In addition to the PPP and EIDL (economic injury disaster loan) programs the SBA provided payment deferrals, payment subsidies and waived the guarantee fee.

In two years, and presuming the COVID pandemic has substantially abated, what will the SBA lending market be like?  Will it have returned to what it was pre-pandemic or will it be different and why?

None of us have been in this situation before so it is really hard to say.  Business will always need capital to grow though.  There could be pent up demand that drives higher than normal levels of loan volume.

As far as untapped resources for business just starting, which is the one that most borrowers don’t know about but should and why?

Small Business Development Centers are an SBA funded resource that can assist with business plans, financial projections and advice.

Brian Kilkenny

Business Services Administrator

Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa 95403

707-576-5422

[email protected]

Years worked in the banking business: 10

Years at your present position: 2

Bio: As credit administrator at Redwood Credit Union (RCU), Brian Kilkenny is responsible for the growth, quality, and retention of RCU’s business loan portfolio.

Prior to joining RCU, Kilkenny spent more than six years with Exchange Bank. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agricultural business management from Oregon State University and began his banking career at Bank of America.

Significant news at your company in the past year: From 2020 to 2021, RCU grew by $1.7 billion in assets. We had planned well for the unexpected and that kept us strong and able to support Members, team members, and the community when they needed us.

No one knew exactly what to expect in business lending, but one year in, we’re optimistic with the performance of our business portfolio. The resilience of our local small businesses was evident as we watched them alter and modify their approach and delivery to customers, to meet customers where they are.

Despite the odds, many of them have stayed solvent, kept the doors open, and continued to pay employees. RCU is proud to have supported that effort by maintaining close partnerships with our business members and borrowers.

What has been the direct impact of the coronavirus on your level of activity?

We’ve been pleasantly surprised to see a strong pipeline of growth and loan opportunities in 2020 and into 2021. We’ve watched businesses grow, borrow, and invest in themselves, which is a positive sign and sets them up well for future success.

This high demand for conventional business, coupled with two rounds of the SBA’s Payment Protection Program (PPP), has meant a lot of activity for the credit union.

Tell us in what ways the SBA program of aiding those who have received SBA loans has been modified to lend to small business and in what ways has it had to adapt programs for those with existing SBA loans?

The SBA has been offering economic injury disaster loans (EIDL) for years, and those came into play recently to help local businesses.

But COVID spurred the SBA to open a Restaurant Revitalization Fund to provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, and they offered a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) to aid hard-hit small businesses, nonprofits, and venues.

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