President Obama has nominated Maria Contreras-Sweet as the next administrator of the Small Business Administration.
The nomination announced by the White House on Thursday comes nearly a year after SBA Administrator Karen Mills announced she would be leaving the agency after taking the helm in 2009.
Contreras-Sweet is currently serving as the executive chairwoman and founder of ProAmérica Bank, a Los Angeles-based commercial bank focusing on small to mid-sized businesses with a specialty in the Latino community.
She also has served as cabinet secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. Contreras-Sweet also served as secretary for Leo McCarthy during his term as speaker of the California State Assembly.
In 1979, she joined the Department of Commerce as a district manager for the United States Census Bureau.
In February 2013, Mills said she would leave the SBA. At the time, she said during her tenure, the agency brought more than 1,000 community banks back to SBA lending, opened its loan products to more mission-based lenders to reach communities hardest hit and secured a $20 billion commitment from 13 banks to increase their small business lending over a three-year time frame.