Bank Notes: SBA sets new lending record in D-FW district

Betty Dillard

SBA sets new lending record in D-FW district The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Dallas-Fort Worth district increased its lending to small businesses 10 percent in 2014 over the previous year. The increase reflects more than $881.1 million put into the hands of 1,675 entrepreneurs and small business owners to expand their businesses and create jobs. “We are fortunate to have a very supportive and vibrant lending community in the D-FW district servicing area,” said Herbert Austin, district director for the SBA Dallas-Fort Worth office. The D-FW office has more than 900,000 small businesses across 72 counties of north, central and east Texas. “They show a strong commitment to strengthening our nation’s economy by providing financing to help small businesses start and grow by retooling their operations, purchasing new inventory or hiring new employees,” Austin said. In fiscal year 2013, SBA loans totaled $813 million with 1,522 loans, and in fiscal year 2012, SBA loans amounts totaled $617.7 million with 1,448 loans in the D-FW district. The top SBA lender for the district is Wells Fargo, which made 130 loans worth $53.7 million. The SBA will continue to waive fees that borrowers pay on loans of $150,000 and less. “We are looking to surpass FY 2014 numbers and reach our goal of $900 million in loans and bring the number of loan units up for the district in FY 2015,” Austin said.

Accion Texas to rebrand, change its name Accion Texas Inc., the nation’s largest, nonprofit provider of microloans and other services to small business owners, is rebranding and will operate under a new name effective Jan. 1, 2015. Accion Texas board members voted in early October to separate from the national network and are ending their sub-licensing agreement with the Accion U.S. Network as of Dec. 15. The nonprofit plans to continue its mission of providing credit and other services to the low-income communities it presently services but as an independent organization, according to President and CEO Janie Barrera. Since its founding as a nonprofit organization 20 years ago, Accion Texas has made more than 14,000 loans totaling more than $167 million. The company has grown from one office and three employees in San Antonio to more than 110 employees in eight states, serving clients throughout the South. “As we’ve been invited to serve small business owners and develop local economies in other states in the South, it has been a challenge to reach out to potential clientele under the Accion Texas name,” Barrera said. Accion Texas has contracted with San Antonio-based strategic brand communication firm Atkins Group to help create a brand that encompasses the diversity of clients and services the microlender provides. In addition to Texas, Accion Texas operates in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. The nonprofit provides entrepreneurs microloans from $500 to $50,000, small business loans up to $250,000, and capital improvement loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration SBA program up to $5.5 million. Additionally, Accion Texas offers business education programs. Its clients are small business owners who may have difficulty gaining access to credit because they lack collateral or have limited credit. “We will continue to operate under our same nonprofit Texas corporate charter and the same federal tax exempt status. The difference is the name change,” Barrera said. “We will continue to serve small business owners with the same drive and focus on empowerment and access.”

Community Trust Bank a top bank to work for again Louisiana-chartered Community Trust Bank has been named one of the top three “Best Banks to Work For in 2014” in the $3 to $10 billion range by American Banker Magazine. To be considered for participation, banks must have at least 50 employees working in the U.S. and be a commercial bank, thrift, mutual association, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, or a savings bank. In all, 40 banks achieved “Best Bank” status in the second year for the program. The full list is featured in the November issue of American Banker Magazine and is available online at More than a century old, Community Trust Bank has 36 banking centers in Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi, including nine locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Community Trust Bank is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Community Trust Financial Corp., a financial holding company with assets of more than $3.5 billion.

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Finalists named in business pitch contest One lucky startup will walk away with a $50,000 grant from Comerica Bank as winner of the inaugural North Texas Business Pitch Contest on Nov. 20. Sponsored by Comerica Bank and the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (DEC), the live pitch event will feature the final four contestants and will take place from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the DEC, located at 311 N. Market St. in Dallas’ West End. The four finalists were selected by a combination of more than 6,600 social media votes and a second round of judging from a panel consisting of DEC and Comerica executives as well as executives from the local investment community. The finalists include Fort Worth-based LiveWire, a curated online marketplace designed to connect consumers with vetted and publically reviewed tax preparers, accountants and financial planners by phone and video. Other final contestants are Glass Media Inc., a Dallas company that developed a patent-pending, cloud-based, digital projection technology product for storefront glass and point of sale applications; Rollout, another Dallas company that provides a digital product as an alternative to printed blueprints for architecture, engineering and construction firms; and XOcur, an Irving software developer whose cloud computing optimization platform aims to cut through the complexity and confusion of choosing cloud solutions and increase cost efficiencies for companies. The celebrity judges who will help select the winner are Fleetwood Hicks, president and founder of Villy Custom and an ABC Shark Tank contestant; David Johnson, business analyst at KRLD 1080 NewsRadio; Terra Saunders, owner/head designer of Waitressville Uniforms and Dallaswear Uniforms; and Natalie Solis, anchor at KDFW FOX 4 News. Attendance at the event is on a first-come, first-serve basis. To register, go to: