The $1.5 billion FAIRWINDS Credit Union is the latest to earn the Small Business Administration's designation of "preferred lender."

The status allows the Orlando-based credit union to streamline the loan approval process and offer faster turnaround time. Jorge Machado, senior vice president of business services, expects FAIRWINDS to reduce SBA loan processing by two to three weeks under the SBA's Preferred Lender Program.

The agency also awarded the credit union the ability to offer its Express and Patriot Express loans, which are available up to $1 million and do not require the typical, in-depth SBA application process, according to FAIRWINDS. With the SBA's temporary increase in loan size to $5 million, Machado said the credit union is poised to help even more small businesses.

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