Small businesses play a critical role in our economy, and NYBDC is among their greatest advocates. In particular, we focus on markets that usually aren't served by traditional lenders: businesses seeking small-dollar loans, underserved regions, minority populations, startups, and hospitality, retail and other so-called “high-risk” industries that conventional banks generally shy away from.
We have a developing niche in the alternate-lending space for startup ventures and small, well-managed businesses on a growth trajectory. Our role in partnering with our 124 commercial lenders is to fund small businesses that, because they have not established a history yet, can’t get loans through traditional lending sources.
NYBDC continues to believe that small businesses are best served by conventional banking. But, when that option is not available, we serve the gaps in that market. Think of the game of baseball. Now, imagine us as the farm system that prepares players for the major leagues. Our small businesses must have a farm team before they move to the majors. We help make them attractive to the major leagues—in this case, the banks.
Our biggest goal for 2015 is to make an even greater impact. NYBDC is seeing tremendous growth as we reach more and more small business owners through our 11 offices. We continue to grow our programs across New York State. And at the urging of our valued lending partners, we have expanded our existing 504 Loan Programs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Soon, we will be making an announcement about a new product in the online space that will provide small businesses in New York with better solutions than the ones currently offered by those who currently dominate the online lending space.
Thanks to our dedicated staff, The 504 Company was honored with the U.S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) 2014 Community Advantage Lender of the Year. Simply put, the CA pilot program promotes economic development and job growth by providing loans under $250,000 to small businesses in underserved communities. The 504 Company approved 67 loans for startup and existing small businesses worth $8.6 million. This total ranked us highest among all of the nation's Community Advantage lenders.
These Community Advantage loans allow small businesses to invest in their growth when traditional lenders have turned them away. This website is full of stories about small businesses that are growing with the help of our lending partners and us. After their own bank denied them a loan, Darryl and Anne Marie Bennick, owners of the Live Well Company in Manhattan, used a $150,000 Community Advantage loan to move their personal training studio from their home to a much larger commercial location, buy equipment and, ultimately, create more jobs.
What we do is unique. We are the only organization that enjoys the support of banks with the sole idea that we can make loans to customers that those banks cannot serve. Our goal as the "branch," or what I call the "capital continuum," is that down the road, instead of going in the back door, our clients can walk in, their heads held high, and have two or three banks fighting for their business.