Associated Bank No. 1 in Wisconsin SBA loans

Green Bay-based Associated Bank authorized the most Small Business Administration loans in the state in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, according to a recent SBA report.
The 250 SBA loans totaled more than $39 million. Oconomowoc-based First Bank Financial Centre was second in Wisconsin in number of loans with 186, but those loans totaled more than $100 million.
Associated made 30 more SBA loans in 2011 than in 2010, totaling $13.5 million, said Jeff Sheffler, government guaranteed lending program manager. He attributed the growth to Associated Bank’s staff and presence in Wisconsin.
“We have more sales people, we have more business bankers out there taking care of clients, we certainly have a great branch network,” he said.
The bank also took advantage of a temporarily higher SBA 7(a) loan limit under the federal Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which contributed to a higher total loan figure, Sheffler said.
Between 10 and 12 percent of loan applications approved by the bank’s business division include an SBA guarantee, he said. Of the 250 Wisconsin SBA loans approved by Associated Bank in 2011, 50 were for Milwaukee County businesses and 33 were for Waukesha County businesses.
This is the seventh year in a row Associated Bank has been the top Wisconsin SBA lender.
“Our system seems to work well for us, from underwriting right through closing the loan,” Sheffler said. “We believe in the SBA program and the benefits that program provides to both business owners and to financial institutions and we lever those benefits.”
Associated Bank’s trusted brand has also helped it stand out during an economic downturn in which several banks have closed, said Mark Kennedy, director of Associated’s business resource center.
“As the clients reach out to lending institutions to inquire and look for this business financing, there’s no doubt that Associated Bank’s reach in the community says ‘Come to us and trust us,'” Kennedy said.

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