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ABA Community Bankers Get REAL at Conference

Posted By Heather E. McNelis, Friday, February 21, 2014
Updated: Friday, February 21, 2014

Written by: Heather McNelis


"Game Change: Real Estate Advantage (504) Loan" Panel at the American Banker's Association

National Conference for Community Bankers 2014

February 21, 2014

A contingent of NADCO leaders made a splash at ABA’s Community Bankers Conference in Phoenix, AZ, including a panel discussion of the REAL 504 with SBA Associate Administrator Ann Marie Mehlum and a first-ever "Real Estate & Equipment Finance Solutions Café” in the preferred vendor section of the packed event, which drew over 400 community bank CEOs.


The effort was part of NADCO’s proactive campaign to increase the visibility of CDCs and the REAL 504, as well as to attract more community bankers as partners.


REAL 504 Game Change Panel

The REAL 504 panel titled "Game Change: Real Estate Advantage (504) Loan” featured Mehlum, NADCO Board member Randy Griffin, President of CSRA Business Lending, Dan BlantonPresident & CEO of Georgia Bank & Trust Companyand Ken RosenthalSr. Advisor - Lending, Education, Training of CDC Capital Marketsand was moderated by NADCO’s Beth Solomon.




Top Left: Community banker Dan Blanton discusses his experience with the REAL 504 | Top Right: Ann Marie Mehlum gives brief overview of her view on the 504 loan program | Bottom: Randy Griffin shows basic specifications of the 504 program before launching into a cross section project successes and 504 loan examples


Griffin told a personal and moving story of how CSRA and Georgia Bank & Trust literally helped build the community of Augusta, GA with the REAL 504 – using images of the people and businesses who have thrived as a result of the loans delivered. Blanton, an incoming Chairman of the ABA, praised the REAL 504 program and urged his counterparts to use the tool at their respective banks. He said the program has proven valuable for him many times over throughout his banking career.


Mehlum applauded NADCO’s efforts. "Before I started my current role, I had never heard of NADCO,” she said. "Now, I realize the potential of our CDCs.”  

Mehlum’s comment foreshadowed the energetic and successful presentation of the REAL 504 in the

NADCO Real Estate & Equipment Finance Solutions Cafe, co-sponsored by Bay Area Development Company, NYBDC, Mountain West Small Business Finance, Lincoln Capital Management, CDC Capital Markets, California Statewide CDC, Dakota CDC and Horizon CDC. Thank you to these sponsors for making NADCO’s visit to the ABA a true success. Efforts like these spread the word about our program and have a ripple effect that strengthens our community.


Highlights of the exhibit hall included a Night at the Races (Kentucky Derby-themed) reception. All exhibitors brought a game for the occasion. NADCO received attention from the bankers for its life-sized racing game, complete with Real Estate & Equipment Finance Café-branded stuffed animals that became an instant collector’s item.


A special thanks to James Robertson of Lincoln Capital Management for immersing himself into the theme with his

Kentucky-Derby inspired apparel. 


Finally, it wouldn’t be a Solutions Café without our fellow exhibitors showing off their branded caps and aprons, ready to "serve” small businesses. As usual, the theme and its participants generated curiosity and interest in the REAL 504 program.





The Conference

Of course, this post wouldn’t be complete without mention of the conference itself. Extremely well organized and packed with informative and useful sessions, the conference has become a must-attend event for community bankers. ABA President & CEO Frank Keating and key ABA leaders offered remarks and repeatedly thanked NADCO and the CDCs for their participation.

The keynote speaker Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Come Together and Others Don't made waves with his discussion of leadership and effective teamwork.


A special thank-you to ABA, especially Christy Walika, hard work, support, and preparation, which helped make NADCO’s first-ever Real Estate & Equipment Finance Solutions Café a success. We look forward to seeing you in 2015!

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