Q: 1. How did you become involved in REAL 504 lending and your CDC?
A: Our company missions is to promote economic development and self employment and in order to achieve that we provide small business loans and technical assistance to entrepreneurs, for more than 20 years the organization focus on microloans, loans between $1,000 and $35,000 and with this program we were able to help to start/expand hundreds of small businesses in New Jersey. However, many of our borrowers were growing and we ready to take the next step (purchasing the real estate for their businesses ) and we did not have a good program to offer. Accordingly, I researched the market for potential programs and came across with the REAL 504 and realize that this was the perfect match for our company and our customers. Accordingly I applied for our license and got it back in 2007. Since inception we have approved 228 loans for $ $170,000,000 net debentures. Our entrance to the market double the size of the New Jersey 504 market.
Q: 2. Your CDC has been a leader in Community Advantage lending. How is going?
A: In was a difficult start because learning a new program is not easy… but our efforts paid off. The program is growing and during FY2013 we approved 10 loans for about $1.500,000 and in the first quarter of FY2014 we already had two approvals and five pending approvals at the SBA.
Q: 3. How is Community Advantage being received by your community?
A: Wonderfully. There is not much competition for this type of program, since must banks do not typically entertain this type of loans. This program meets the financial needs of underserved markets ( businesses with less than two years in operation, pure start ups, borderline credits) and is bringing acces to capital to those that cannot get bank financing.
Q: 4. Does it help with general visibility for RBAC?
A: Yes it is, since now we are being looked at as a one stop shop for SBA financing and bankers and customers look for our advise in all SBA programs.
Q: 5. Are you marketing Community Advantage differently from REAL 504, and if so, how?
A: We market our three programs (SBA micro loan, 7(a) Ca and REAL 504) to the same target audience, we just changed the message for each program. Actually in many of the 504 transactions we enhance the credit by providing a 504 for the fixed assets and a 7(a) CA for working capital, inventory, franchise fees etc. Banks love this.
Q: 6. What do you like best about the Community Advantage program?A: The market is a lot bigger than the market for REAL 504, there is not that much competition, it's a very good source of income and provides financing to those that cannot get traditional bank financing.