Huntington offers $360 million to small businessesWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Huntington Bank has made a commitment to infuse $360 million into the Toledo and Northwest Ohio economy through loans to small businesses in the next three years.
“The ability for small businesses to access credit is vital for economic recovery and the future vitality of our region,” said Sharon Speyer, Northwest Ohio regional president for Huntington Bank.
“We have made a commitment to help small businesses grow and directly create jobs in our community that will have a positive impact on the economy in Northwest Ohio.”
The bank will provide loans averaging $150,000 to as many as 2,500 small businesses with working capital to expand, add employees, or invest in new equipment to jump start their success and the economy.
“Huntington has made small business lending a top priority,” Speyer said, confirming the bank’s current ranking as the top Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in Ohio.
The small business program is part of a major $4 billion initiative involving all of Hungtinton’s markets in several states. It is a result of the bank’s strong partnership with the SBA, according to James Phares, vice president of business banking at Huntington.
“It allows us to offer clients more favorable terms and help their cash flow,” Phares said.
Aktion Associates Inc. of Maumee is one local company that already has benefited from Huntington’s SBA loan program. The company received a $1.8 million loan from the SBA through Huntington, closing in January after a process in the fourth quarter of 2009.
Aktion needed capital for some acquisitions, a partner retiring and the mortgage renewal on the building it owns and occupies, said Scott Irwin, president of Aktion Associates.
The firm’s five-year term on the building with Fifth Third Bank was due to expire.
“With the current banking situation, our years of profitability and cash flow, we had limited conventional banking options,” Irwin said.
“We talked to several banks about funding and received offers from Huntington and Fifth Third. Huntington packaged everything in a SBA loan for 20 years that cost significantly less,” Irwin said.
“We considered all options, conventional and SBA, and put together the best package to give the client what works best for them,” said Matt Kerr, a business banker at Huntington who was involved in the process.
Aktion had no previous experience working with the SBA before becoming involved with Huntington.
Irwin said the firm learned a lot in the process, primarily that SBA funds come through the bank, but are guaranteed by the federal government. The process paperwork and ongoing reporting was no different than conventional banking.
“We got through the process quickly working closely with Jeffrey Banks and a team from Huntington,” Irwin said.
Banks is vice president and senior SBA product specialist at the bank’s Cleveland office.
President Obama’s stimulus package eliminated the SBA fee for guaranteeing the loan, making it more cash-flow friendly and saving substantially for the company, Irwin said.
The loan will allow Aktion to maintain its full staff of 75 associates and employees, to grow its business and possibly add five or six people in 2010, according to Irwin.
“We took 100 percent of our banking to Huntington in the fourth quarter of 2009 after years with Fifth Third Bank,” Irwin said. “We had a good banking relationship with Fifth Third and had no intention of changing banks before this process.”
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