Saturday, February 14, 2009

One Georgia Bank is State's Fastest-Growing Lender to Small Businesses

/PRNewswire/ -- Sprinting ahead of the pack in 2008, One Georgia Bank grew its SBA 7(a) loan volume faster than any other lender in the state. The Atlanta-based community bank set the leading pace during the first year of its newly created SBA Lending Division that started operations in March 2008. In November 2008, the bank received approval from the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Preferred Lender.

One Georgia Bank approved fourteen 7(a) loans totaling $6,600,000 for SBA's fiscal year which ended September 30, 2008, earning the bank SBA's Pacesetter Award.

Among all lenders in the state for 7(a) loans, One Georgia Bank ranked fourth by total dollar volume at the end of December 2008 with four 7(a) loans totaling $2.8 million. The company trailed the leader by only $314,500.

"Small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy, and we're proud to do our part to help them grow and thrive," said Willard "Chuck" Lewis, president and chief executive officer of One Georgia Bank. "During these difficult economic times it's crucial that we support our local entrepreneurs."

In an effort to continue and expand that support, One Georgia Bank has become a Patriot Express lender. The SBA program is designed to help military veterans and their spouses, current or widowed, gain access to loans for expanding small business ventures.

With the Patriot Express program, loans of up to $500,000 are available. Loans of $150,000 or less qualify for the SBA's maximum guaranty of 85 percent. Loans of more than $150,000 qualify for a 75 percent guaranty.

Patriot Express loans can be used for most business purposes, including acquisition of real estate, equipment, inventory and working capital.

"It is an honor to have the opportunity to help brave members of our military lead successful lives once they return home from duty," Lewis said. "After the sacrifices they have made for our country, our veterans and their families are undoubtedly deserving of professional financial help at home."

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