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Experienced Talent Drives American Bank to Streamline SBA Loan Process

Bank Builds SBA Dream Team To Help Owners Seeking Capital

When it comes to obtaining a commercial bank loan, business owners want two things: they want the process quickly and smoothly.

The staff at American Bank of Missouri, led by CEO Tim Nash is ready to make that wish list come true for current and potential business owners that seek to acquire or grow their businesses through the SBA 7A loan program.

American Bank, headquarted in Wright City, has seven branches throughout the region with assets totaling approximately $240 million has hired a staff of SBA lending experts to kick off a new initiative to help small- and mid-sized businesses in the region gain financing. The Bank has developed a strong reputation focusing on the 1-4 family (both owner occupied and investor properties) markets, but less than 5% of its loan portfolio was in the Commercial and Industrial category.

Ted Kraizer, who is based in the Bank’s Rock Hill location, has established other successful SBA lending operations in the area and joined the Bank in March of this year. “I got to know Tim working on interbank participations and we stayed in touch over the years. Last year Tim and I had lunch and he was looking for options to diversify his portfolio and I was describing shortcomings of SBA programs in the market and what it would take to set up the ideal department.” My two primary requirements were having complete board support and the ability to hire an experienced back room staff. Kraizer continued “At my last two banks we outsourced our SBA processing to a 3rd party Lender Service Provider. I knew that I could start a successful department if the bank could hire the right people. I worked with Gina Rodgers through a previous banking relationship and knew she had 13 years experience in all facets of the SBA Lending. She expressed her interest in new opportunities and joined the team in March. Gina and I thought we would have several months before originating our first loans, but the phone started to ring and soon after we needed to make our next hire. We were fortunate to have the opportunity to hire Brian McCarthy, with 5 years of SBA processing and credit experience as both a lender and credit underwriter. “

The Bank made a substantial investment to build the backroom, before hiring Dave Ruby, who generated substantial SBA volume at his previous employer. Subsequent hires include Curtis Maness as a loan closer, Melissa Ewen with 7 years of SBA underwriting experience as Assistant Vice President and Sheena Shi as a lender, who has significant experience as a loan closer prior to joining American Bank. Our goal is to provide the best SBA experience in the market. Borrowers often think SBA loans are difficult to obtain or have too many requirements. We want the process to be as straightforward as possible for an efficient timely result. On a collective basis Gina, Brian and Melissa have experience underwriting and processing SBA loans that is unmatched in the market and probably unsurpassed on a nationwide basis.

The bank was recently designated a preferred lender by the SBA. Under this designation, the SBA streamlines procedures for lenders by giving them the authority to make the final credit decision which can significantly shorten the SBA process. “Our approval process, is basically myself and Tim with the support of other team members,” Kraizer said. “For loans over Tim and I’s approval limit, we’ll go to our board, which may only add a day or two to the approval process. We can usually get a commitment letter in two weeks from our initial meeting with the client. Usually, if the customer provides requested information on a timely basis the entire SBA loan process takes 30-60 days.”
“The problem with many banks is that they try to underwrite SBA loans like they do every other loan, and it causes frustration throughout the entire approval process. With 7(a) loans, you are underwriting the entrepreneur, not the collateral.”

7(a) loans are available for most business purposes, including business acquisition, purchasing business real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory, and for working capital, and – in some cases –may be used to refinance existing business debt.

Currently, the maximum 7(a) loan the SBA can guarantee is $5 million. The SBA can guaranty 85% of a loan of $150,000 or less, 75% of a loan greater than $150,000 under the Standard 7(a) Loan Program.

“We are very open minded about the businesses we are looking to help,” he said. “We are looking for all types of businesses.

With aging baby boomers looking to exit their businesses, Kraizer said employees are a great candidate for SBA loans. “Baby boomers are getting ready to sell their businesses. A lot of times their trusted employees are ready to buy the business but don’t have the income. The SBA can help with that. Employees can buy the business. Other times, we are perfect for those seeking working capital.”

Said Kraizer: “No one else in the market has the experience level we have in the entire process. We think, over time, our process will sell itself.” If you are in need of capital, contact Ted Kraizer at American Bank at 314-963-2006 ext 535 or SBA@myamericanbank.net.


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