For its aggressive small business lending efforts, Centris Federal Credit Union has been honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The $449 million credit union in Omaha, Neb., recently received the SBA’s award for Nebraska’s Rural/Community Lender of the Year. The award is given to local lenders that dedicate their commercial lending operations to building new businesses and create new jobs.
Centris said it embarked on an aggressive campaign to increase its SBA lending three years ago, leveraging the SBA’s Express loan programs to increase loan volume from $390,000 on its books in 2007 to $6.5 million to small businesses by the end of fiscal year 2010. Twenty-four new loans totaling $4 million were distributed that year.
The CU was Nebraska’s fourth largest SBA lender in the state by number of loans and was third‐largest in loan volume for fiscal year 2010, according to Centris. SBA‐backed loans account for approximately 30% of its total commercial portfolio.
“Centris’ management and officers have established a reputation for service well exceeding the expectations of its clients,” said Mike Niehaus, SBA Nebraska District Office’s lead lender relations specialist.
Kevin Parks, president/CEO of Centris, said the credit union is especially proud to be recognized during a period when access to credit for small businesses nationally has been difficult.
“This award reflects our ongoing commitment to serving our members for both their personal as well as their business needs through good times and difficult times,” Parks said.
Centris said while banks nationwide have been hesitant to lend to small businesses, unwilling to take on any risk during the downturn and small businesses themselves have been holding off on taking on more debt, the numbers paint a better picture for Nebraska.