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SBA lenders in San Francisco North Bay recount tough yr serving to employers survive

The Business Journal asked these seven lenders who are working with firms in North Bay to secure funding from the US Small Business Administration about the problems local employers have faced over the past 14 months with coronavirus pandemic restrictions. and the sometimes challenging application process for billions of federal aid.

Jeff Clark

Senior lender

Live Oak Bank

100 B St., Suite 100, Santa Rosa 95401

707-921-1102

jeff.clark@liveoak.bank

Years in banking: 25 years

Years in your current position: 6 years

Tell us about yourself: I have worked with wineries, breweries, distilleries, and craft beverage manufacturers in the United States. My experience spans the spectrum from small family businesses to listed companies.

Important news in your company in the past year: Despite the conditions, we survived and thrived. What a year!

What direct impact has the coronavirus had on your activity level?

It has affected us in several ways. The provision of Payroll Protection Program (PPP) loans took several months of our time and took us away from loan production.

This also affected our borrowers with an on-premise exposure, excluding many of them for months. We usually travel several months a year for site visits, trade shows, etc. and that has not happened.

Tell us how the SBA program in support of those who have received SBA loans changed to provide loans to small businesses, and how did it have to adapt programs for those with existing SBA loans?

In addition to the PPP and EIDL (Economic Disaster Disaster Loan) programs, the SBA provided payment deferrals and payment grants and waived the guarantee fee.

Assuming the COVID pandemic has subsided significantly, what will the SBA credit market look like in two years? Will it have reverted to what it was before the pandemic or will it be different and why?

Neither of us have been in this situation before so it’s really hard to tell. However, companies will always need capital to grow. There could be pent-up demand beyond normal credit levels.

As for the untapped resources on the business just getting started, which ones most borrowers don’t know but should and why?

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

Brian Kilkenny

Business Services Administrator

Redwood Credit Union

3033 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa 95403

707-576-5422

BKilkenny@redwoodcu.org

Years in banking: 10

Years in your current position: 2

Organic: Brian Kilkenny is the Redwood Credit Union (RCU) loan administrator responsible for the growth, quality and maintenance of the RCU’s business loan portfolio.

Prior to joining RCU, Kilkenny was with Exchange Bank for over six years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Oregon State University and began his banking career with Bank of America.

Important news in your company in the past year: From 2020 to 2021, the RCU grew by $ 1.7 billion. 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.

Nobody knew exactly what to expect from the loan, but a year later we are optimistic about the performance of our business portfolio. The resilience of our local small businesses was evident as we watched them change and modify their approach and delivery to customers to meet customers where they are.

Despite all the adversities, many of them remained solvent, kept the doors open and continued to pay employees. RCU is proud to have supported this effort through close partnerships with our business members and borrowers.

What direct impact has the coronavirus had on your activity level?

We were pleasantly surprised to see a strong pipeline of growth and credit opportunities in 2020 and 2021. We have watched companies grow, borrow, and invest in themselves. This is a positive sign and will prepare you 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 how the SBA program in support of those who have received SBA loans changed to provide loans to small businesses, and how did it have to adapt programs for those with existing SBA loans?

The SBA has been offering Economic Damage Disaster Loans (EIDL) for years, which recently came into play to help local businesses.

However, COVID spurred the SBA to open a restaurant revitalization fund to provide restaurants with funding to match their pandemic-related loss of revenue, and they offered a Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) to help hard-hit small businesses, nonprofits and venues to help.

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