Banking & Finance, Economic Development, and Nonprofits

SBA lenders merge

October 26, 2017
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Julie Parker
Julie Parker. Courtesy Economic Development Foundation

Two lenders of long-term SBA loans in the region have merged.

The Economic Development Foundation, or EDF, of Grand Rapids and Lakeshore 504, with offices in Holland and Grand Haven, have received approval from the U.S. Small Business Administration, or SBA, to merge their operations as of this month, EDF said today.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Areas of specialty

As certified development companies, or CDCs, EDF and Lakeshore 504 offer SBA long-term 504 loans to small businesses for fixed assets, such as real estate acquisitions, construction and equipment.

Lakeshore 504 primarily served the West Michigan lakeshore market, and EDF serves small businesses throughout Michigan.

New mode of operation

Lakeshore 504 was managed through a partnership with the Michigan West Coast Chamber Commerce and Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce and operated through contractors.

Post-merger, EDF will assume responsibility over the markets Lakeshore 504 formerly served, and Lakeshore 504 will merge into EDF.

“This merger allows West Michigan businesses and lenders the opportunity to work with an expanded team of experts throughout the entire loan process,” said Julie Parker, president, EDF. “Lakeshore 504 felt that partnering with EDF would give small business owners and lenders both confidence and familiarity, and we are honored to have been chosen to take over the portfolio.”

Parker will continue as EDF’s president. EDF’s board, led by Chair Dan DeBaar, will oversee all business activities.

EDF Loan Officer Gary Witkowski will be assigned to the lakeshore market from northern Michigan to the Indiana border.

Moving forward, EDF will continue to partner with the two chambers to promote and market the SBA 504 loan program to both chambers’ members.

Reasons for merger

Before joining EDF as president in 2015, Parker served as executive director of Lakeshore 504 for almost 14 years.

“Ultimately, it was Julie's move to EDF that initiated merger discussions between the two organizations,” DeBaar said. “Instead of Lakeshore 504 continuing with a search to fill the executive director role, the two chambers decided that this was an ideal time for them to evaluate merger options, with the ultimate goal of allowing each chamber to concentrate on their core business missions and membership development.”

Earlier this year, the two chambers proposed the merger to Lakeshore 504’s board of directors. The board voted in June to file with the SBA for approval of the merger. 

“They were very familiar with EDF and our staff and felt confident we would make the 504 loan process efficient and successful for both the lending partners and small businesses in their geographical markets,” DeBaar said. 

EDF and Lakeshore 504

EDF is one of three CDCs offering SBA 504 loans in Michigan and has eight employees. All of Lakeshore 504’s loan officers were contractors.

Since 1983, EDF has approved 785 loans with a value of $371 million, and Lakeshore 504 has approved 260 loans with a value of almost $99 million.

The two organizations combined have helped create an estimated 8,000 jobs. 

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