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Happy New Year! (In October?)

The SBA’s fiscal year began on October 1st, so SBA lenders nationwide are working on their resolutions. Probably lots of the usual stuff: eat better, quit smoking, join a gym, do more loans, etc. We’re not big on new year’s resolutions, so we’ll just keep helping small business owners. Business as usual. We’ll probably take a break to do some Halloweening later this month, but that won’t deter us from providing the best commercial real estate financing experience for small business owners nationwide.

Featured Project:
Safe ‘n Secure Garage Door
Specialists, Inc. dba Besser Bros.

- $1.05 million total project cost
– 7,088 sf Industrial building (acquisition)
– Santa Ana, CA
– 8 jobs created/retained

In the early 1990s, Byron Burland moved from South Africa to Southern California. He opened Safe ‘n Secure Garage Door Specialists in 1994, focusing on sales and service for residential home owners and developers. The company expanded into Orange County in 2000 and continued growing thanks to new HOA clientele, online marketing, and traditional word-of-mouth. In 2005, Safe ‘n Secure acquired Besser Bros. — one of the largest and oldest garage door companies in the area — whose owners were retiring. The company continues to be the finest full-service garage door company in Southern California.

Typically our clients purchase or build larger facilities to accommodate growth or expand operations, but Besser Bros. bought a building that was slightly smaller than the one they previously occupied. Seems strange, but there’s a good reason. At the old location, company trucks had to be parked inside the warehouse because they were loaded with tools and parts. They couldn’t risk someone stealing anything valuable, so much of the warehouse was used as parking space. The new property features a fenced-in yard that will protect the vehicles and equipment, and will give the company about 5,000 more usable square feet for inventory.

Each and every one of our small business clients has a different and unique situation. Just like there’s no one-size-fits-all commercial property for every business, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to commercial real estate financing. Sure, we only specialize in SBA 504 loans, but each project is different and requires individualized attention and problem solving.

Tip of the Month: Be Patient

Buying or building commercial real estate for a small business isn’t something to rush into. It’s a big decision and requires a lot of due diligence, patience, and flexibility. It’s sort of like buying a home, except that it’s not really at all like buying a home. It’s a complex transaction — one that we’ve spent years refining and perfecting.

Let’s assume you found the perfect commercial property for your business. It’s the right location, right price, and it has everything you need (no construction or renovations). It’s possible that a project like this can get to the closing table in 30 days (we’ve done it before), but it’s not the norm for most of our clients. There are many more moving parts to a commercial loan than a residential one, and any unforeseen hiccup along the way can cause a delay. Even though small business commercial real estate financing is all we do and we’ve been at it for more than a decade, it’s very hard to predict what to expect at every turn during the process.

For example, we worked with a small business recently who wanted to purchase and renovate two office buildings. The two buildings were built in the early 1970s and appeared nearly identical. Our client knew from an early inspection that renovations would be required to remove asbestos that was found in the walls and ceilings. When the demolition crew began working on the drywall and ceiling tiles, they found that one of the buildings lacked proper structural support and required a great deal of unplanned-for work to be done to bring it up to code. Even though this is an extreme example of a “hiccup” during the financing/construction process, it’s a real situation that we and our client had to face.

So…since we’ve been doing this for more than a decade, we should have ironed out all the kinks by now, right? Well, we’ll probably be able to get your project done quicker and with fewer headaches than other commercial lenders. But every project is unique, with its own set of challenges. Our experience and expertise makes it possible for us to anticipate, react, and work through the myriad obstacles that can hamper a commercial real estate loan. That’s what you get when you work with an SBA 504 loan specialist like us. We know better than to try to sell you on promises that are impossible to deliver. You can trust us to give you straightforward and honest answers to all your questions about small business commercial real estate financing.

About SBA 504 Loans

- Up to 90% loan-to-cost financing for owner-occupied commercial real estate
- Office, industrial, medical, flex, daycare, retail, self-storage, and flagged hotel
- Total project costs up to $15 million
- Less impact on cash flow means greater flexibility for property owners

Our SBA 504 loans (sometimes we call them SmartChoice Commercial Loans) have a three-part structure, which is ultimately beneficial for both our small business clients and for third-party lenders we work with. A typical project has a 50-40-10 structure, and we’re dealing with the total project cost which includes the purchase price of land and/or existing building(s), construction costs, soft costs, closing costs, and equipment. This means our clients’ out-of-pocket costs are kept to a bare minimum.

The 50% 1st mortgage is an ordinary commercial loan provided by a third-party lender. This is at market rates and can have up to a 30-year amortization. Current rates for this piece will be in the 5.25%–6.25% range. The 40% 2nd mortgage is a below-market, fixed-rate bond with an SBA guarantee. This piece is fixed for 20 years and has a 20-year amortization. Current rate is 4.82% (as of October 2014).

Small business owners are required to put down as little as 10% of the total project cost, which is two to three times less than ordinary commercial loans require. Equity in land (if it’s already been purchased) and soft costs (like architectural and engineering fees) can count toward the equity requirement. The interest rates from the 1st and 2nd mortgages blend to an effective rate that’s hard to beat with ordinary commercial real estate financing. For a total project cost of $10 million, the blended rate would be 5.28% and the approximate monthly payment would be $57,156 (all rates and figures are current estimates at time of issue).

For customized loan scenarios and payment calculations, download our SmartChoice Commercial Loan Calculator for your iPhone or Android device today.
**Note: Additional equity is required for certain projects involving companies that have been in business less than two years and/or properties that fall into the “special-use” category. Thus, the 50-40-10 structure is typical but not guaranteed.

How can we help you?

Whether you’re a small business owner who wants to own commercial property for your business…or you work with small business clients who do…you may have questions and/or concerns about commercial loans. We want you to know that we’re here to help. Even if an SBA 504 loan isn’t the best solution for your project, we’ll let you know right away and help point you in the right direction. We’ve built our business on being good at what we do and shooting straight with our clients and referral partners. Quick answers and unparalleled expertise is what you’ll get when you call or email or fax or tweet or drop by our offices. Let us know what questions/concerns you’d like us to address. You can even leave a comment below so others can see your question and read the answer (chances are, someone else is wondering the same thing you are).

Upcoming…

We’re currently working on a series of videos and blog posts all about construction financing. It’s something that’s become a specialty of ours in the past few years, and many other lenders are often too risk-averse to take on many construction deals. We’re going to explain what you need to know about small business construction projects so you know what you’re getting into before you get into it. We hope it’ll be a helpful, magical thing.

Happy New Federal Fiscal Year!

- Your 504 Experts
The SBA 504 Experts keep you up to date on smarter commercial real estate financing. Small business owners, read at your own peril. (Peril, because it's
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We Are Mercantile – The SBA 504 Experts

Up until about a month ago, you were on the receiving end of emails, blogs, and videos featuring a single person as the face of our company. We’ve fielded quite a few questions about what the departure of our CEO means for Mercantile going forward, and the short answer is that nothing changes.

But there’s a longer explanation that we’d like to give you by way of video so that you can know and see a little about what goes on behind the scenes here at Mercantile. What we do for our small business clients has been a team effort from the very start. We’re known as “the 504 Experts” (plural) and we’re a hardworking group of people dedicated to providing the best service and experience for our small business clients.

Let us know if you have questions about who we are, what we do, what we’re about, or how we can help you or your small business clients. Email us at 504experts@mercantilecc.com, call 1-866-622-4504, or leave a comment below. We’re all ears. 

- Your 504 Experts
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What should be at the top of the to-do list for the new SBA Administrator? American Banker posed this question to Chris and 14 other bankers. Here's what he had to say:

"The thing I'd like to see the administrator do is continue to push to enable 504s to do refinances, to bring that program back. There's been some movement in Congress, but I think she should go on record and really do some arm-twisting — if that's the right word — to get Congress to act on this. There are a tremendous amount of commercial mortgages that will be ballooning from 2015 through 2017, and the 504 would help to a lot of those small businesses to refinance those ballooning mortgages.

A program allowing refinances passed as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010. It was only in place until September 2012, because it was a 24-month program. The agency took 11 to 13 months to promulgate all of the regulations, so it really wasn't fully operational until those last 11 to 13 months. We tried really hard to get it extended. But because 2012 was a presidential election year, it was awfully hard to get that on the radar screen.

I also would love to see her voice support for and try to bring back the First Mortgage Loan Pooling program. Again, that was a program that was part of the Jobs Act and was extremely beneficial for the short run it had. It still would be tremendously helpful, particularly as it relates to the current banking regulations and restrictions on certain property types and whatnot. This is a program that would enable a lot of those types of projects to get financed.

These were budget-neutral programs, extremely well liked by the lending community and the entrepreneur community. Yet the agency took a long time to write all the rules for them and, by the time it did, the programs shortly thereafter ended and they just didn't get reinstated. It's quite a shame, to be honest."

Read more at http://www.americanbanker.com/news/community-banking/dear-ms-contreras-sweet-sba-wish-list-from-15-bankers-1068072-1.html

#sbawishlist   #smallbusiness   #504refi   #FMLP  
From more automation and general streamlining to specific recommendations for tweaking programs, small-business lenders offer up their suggestions for the new head of the Small Business Administration.
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When you're planning for growth in your small business, here's a reason to consider staying small: Niche Domination. Growth for growth's sake is never a good thing. Read more about why staying small can be a big thing for your business at http://readwr.it/p1xm.

#smallbiz #tipoftheday #staysmall #smallgiants #dontgettoobigthatscrazy
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There's a good chance that you or someone you know has bought into the hype surrounding Beats headphones. If not an actual set of headphones, you can probably find a product with Beats audio integrated somewhere close by. Believe it or not, Beats now owns about 70% of the headphones market, and Burt Helm from Inc. magazine recently sat down with the company's founders to talk about the secrets to their success. 

As always, we read articles like this to see if there are any nuggets of wisdom we can apply to our business and share with other small business owners. (Plus we love technology and music.) Beats was cofounded by Interscope records mogul Jimmy Iovine and hip-hop icon Dr. Dre, each of whom possess a certain level of fame and recognition that most small business owners only dream of. This company started from a pretty different place than most of ours. Nevertheless, they've had to overcome significant hurdles. 

Something that all of us have to face at one point or another (Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre included) are critics. Ignoring the naysayers is an important step on the road to success. Skeptics wondered why Beats would propose selling $200 headphones when customers get earbuds for free. Iovine's response? "Bad audio is free." He goes on to explain, "When you believe in something, the last thing you say to yourself is, 'Well, no one's doing this, so there must be no good reason to do it.'"

There are plenty more great business lessons to be learned from Beats in this article, but ignoring the critics stands out as one of the most important to us. You won't get very far with a new business or product or service if you listen to the naysayers who want to tell you all the reasons your idea won't work. There's a time to get feedback and take constructive criticism about your concept, but there's also a time to put on your Beats headphones, tune out the critics, and move forward with what you believe in.

#smallbiz #SBW2014 #beats #dre #keeptheirheadsringin 
Beats controls some 70 percent of the headphones market, thanks to lightning-fast marketing and a smart grasp of pop culture.
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Guest Blog: Open Letter to Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL)

Charles H. Green, Managing Director of the Small Business Finance Institute and regular contributor to the Coleman Report, has penned an open letter in response to comments from Jeff Sessions, Republican Senator from Alabama, that appeared in a Bloomberg BusinessWeek article yesterday. I happen to think Charles’s stance is right on the money and I’ve received his permission to feature his letter here as a guest blog (our first ever, I might add). After you read what he has to say and the article from Bloomberg BusinessWeek (here), I’d really like to know your thoughts. Leave a comment below or email me at ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com. Here’s the open letter:

Dear Senator,

Why are you investing the prestige of your office and the popular support from your home state to wage a war of misconstrued facts on the U.S. Small Business Administration?

Are you purposely trying to block access to capital to thousands of Alabama businesses (and beyond) by glibly misrepresenting the nature of the agency’s loan guaranty program and secondary market apparatus?

These programs are modeled as credit insurance, meaning that loan losses are entirely funded by premiums (called “loan guaranty fees”) paid by the loan recipients and an ongoing fee (actually a “tax”) levied on the participating bank. Taxpayers don’t contribute a dime toward loan losses.

To say otherwise places you in the unfortunate company with other anti-SBA crusaders like the CATO Institute, whose dislike for SBA leads them to purposely misstate reality.

You were recognized by the NFIB as a “Guardian of Small Business” in 2006. It’s curious that now you criticize the private-public partnership structure of SBA and the secondary market that provides liquidity to participating community banks, including dozens in Alabama.

Calling it a “moral hazard” in Bloomberg Businessweek is ironic. Maybe you have a problem with capitalism on Main Street?

You voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Reauthorization Act of 2012 for $140 billion, even though about 80 percent of the appropriation benefits Fortune 500 companies Boeing and General Electric.

You voted for ethanol subsidies in 2005, 2007 and 2013, which costs taxpayers over $7 billion annually and benefits other Fortune 500 companies like Archer Daniels Midland, Monsanto, Shell Oil and BP.

Yet now you grandstand over the paltry SBA, whose 2015 budget request actually went down to less than 3/4 of $1 billion, and whose tens of thousands of financial beneficiaries actually pay their own way.

Perhaps you just need a better coach to explain the SBA to you, Senator. As a native of Alabama, I’d be glad to do that. Call me when you’re ready.

Sincerely,

Charles H. Green
Managing Director
Small Business Finance Institute

You can read the article that inspired this response here, and you’ll find more about Charles and the Small Business Finance Institute here. Also, thanks to Bob Coleman at Coleman Publishing for making sure I saw Charles’s letter today. Now, what do you think? Leave a comment or email me at ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com.

Until next time,

-Chris
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We’re building buildings! (Well, providing the financing, at least.) Construction projects accounted for 62% of our lending activity last year, so we’ve become pretty darn good at this type of lending (if we do say so ourselves).

If you’ve ever encountered a lender (or lenders) who shy away from construction financing, you ought to read our latest blog (www.504Blog.com). You’ll also learn how small business owners can plan for future expansion and generate possible income at the same time with SBA 504 loans.

Or, if you’re not in a blog-reading mood, just call us: 1-866-622-4504. Phones are faster sometimes.
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One key aspect of successful businesses is the ability to strip away all unnecessary details. Whether that's the overall message the company is trying to relay, or the design of the actual products they sell, the old KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle is essential.

Apple, a company that is known for its elegantly designed products has embraced that principle wholeheartedly. They've gone as far as taking their design cues from Pablo Picasso. Read on to find out how his work has inspired the design of the Apple TV remote.
At Apple University--the company's internal training program--new employees take a crash course in Picasso. Here's why.
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GOAL! (and other soccer words)

It’s World Cup time, which means most of the world is watching soccer with an even greater interest than usual. We, too, have World Cup Fever, but we would never let it get in the way of your commercial real estate financing needs. However, if you do happen to call during a USA match, you’ll probably have to leave a message. Just fair warning. With that lone World Cup caveat, here’s your June 2014 Commercial Finance Update…

==================

Featured Project:

Planet Fitness
-Muncie, Indiana
-90% loan-to-cost financing
$1.18 million total project cost (acquisition and construction)
26,660 square foot fitness facility
-9 jobs created

Since the World Cup is upon us, it makes sense to feature one of our fitness-related clients this month. Mike Campagnolo is in the process of building 21 Planet Fitness Clubs in the greater Indianapolis area. With seven clubs up and running, he’s well on his way. Mike decided to acquire an aging retail strip center in Muncie, IN, and rebuild it into a state-of-the-art fitness center, and we had the honor of financing his project. We provided both the temporary 1st and interim 2nd mortgages during the construction process (keep reading for more about loan structure). We also participated in a second SBA loan to finance the necessary equipment for the gym. Small business construction financing has become a niche specialty of ours, so call us when you or someone you know has a construction project we should take a look at.

Go to www.504blog.com/cfu-june2014 for videos and more...

------------------------------

Tip of the Month: Don't price-shop.

Choosing a commercial lender solely on price is unwise. It’s sort of like having surgery: you wouldn’t pick the doctor who charged the lowest price to operate on you, right? When you’re evaluating lenders for your commercial real estate project, it’s important to look at their level of expertise. Do they specialize in the type of loan you need? How many of this type of loan have they closed? Have their clients been happy with their experience? It’s worth the extra effort to find a lender who has a reputation for being the expert in providing the type of loan you need. We’ve been small business commercial real estate specialists for more than a decade, so call us first when you or someone you know is interested in owning commercial property. We’ll be more than happy to cut your lender search short so you can get back to doing what you do best.

Learn more at www.504experts.com/about-504-experts/mercantile-difference...

-----------------------------

For Small Businesses (Owner-Users): The SmartChoice Commercial Loan

-Up to 90% loan-to-cost financing for owner-occupied commercial real estate.
-Property types include office, industrial, medical, flex, daycare, retail, flagged hotel, and self-storage facilities.
-Total project costs up to $15 million.
-Makes commercial property more affordable for small business owners.

Read the full update at http://createsend.com/t/r-F5F43B67AD5F41582540EF23F30FEDED.
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We decided to rethink the format for our May 2014 Commercial Finance Update, and here's why:

We (you and us and everybody) are reading a lot of email on our mobile devices these days. This isn't a major discovery, just something we've realized is important when we communicate with each other. Instead of sending emails with links to websites, we've put our entire Commercial Finance Update in a mobile-friendly package. There's still a print-friendly version, too, and you can see/get both at http://www.504blog.com/cfu-may2014

If this is helpful to you at all, please share it with a small business owner you know. Thanks in advance!

#smallbiz #commercialloans #sba504
Mercantile Capital Corporation, the small business commercial real estate loan experts, provide the latest news in a complimentary, mobile-friendly format.
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Right now, more than 1.2 billion people use Facebook worldwide. As usual, Mark Zuckerberg is setting lofty goals for the company and its technology. Mobile is a big deal. Virtual reality will be a big deal (says Zuckerberg). Working with developers to create cross-platform apps is a big focus, and making Facebook more stable so it can handle and promote increased development is a necessity. Zuckerberg talks in-depth about the future of Facebook in a recent article on WIRED.com, and it's sort of hard to imagine what any of it means for ordinary users and small businesses. 

Here's our big takeaway: content is still the key to social media.

Zuckerberg thinks Facebook is more than just a communication tool — it's becoming a knowledge tool. Think about it: people are constantly sharing information via Facebook. Opinions, product reviews, movie and music preferences, vacation tips, miscellaneous advice, and lots more bits of information/knowledge can be gleaned from what people share and post on Facebook. Zuckerberg thinks if they can harness all that knowledge and present it in useful ways to users when they need it, they'll "change how people think about social networks from being just about communication to being about knowledge and answering useful questions."

For us small businesses, it becomes important what we share. Sure, photos and personality still matter. People want to know that you’re real people and not some soulless company. But giving helpful information about your products and services, as well as other areas of expertise, will net you the greatest return in the social media world. Given Facebook’s latest treatment of business pages, it’s likely that only 10 or 12 people will see this post. Is there a chance someone will see it in some search results down the road and find it helpful? Only Zuckerberg knows...

#smallbiz #socialmedia #facebook #zuckerberg #hashtag
Zuckerberg explains his developer philosophy, his belief that all apps should be social, and his vision of Facebook as the leader in knowledge — which as he described it, sounded a lot like search.
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SBA 504 Loans At Your Fingertips

We’re thrilled to announce something HUGE today. Ever since I got my first iPhone, I’ve wanted to make use of touchscreen technology in the small business lending industry. With the recent proliferation of biometric technology and the opportunity to work with the NSA (can’t divulge many details), we’ve been able to develop a loan application that requires only a thumbprint.

The following press release is being distributed with all the details, and you can experience it for yourself at www.504touch.com.

SBA 504 LOANS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

Mercantile Capital Corporation Launches Touchscreen, Biometric Loan Application for SBA 504 Loans

ORLANDO, FL — April 1, 2014 — Mercantile Capital Corporation today launched its “504 TOUCH” loan application, which allows small business owners to apply for U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans, also known as Real Estate Advantage Loans (REAL) using only their thumbprint. The online application is the latest innovation in the company’s continuing commitment to make SBA 504 financing the first choice for small business owners who want to purchase, construct, or expand their commercial facilities. The ground-breaking loan application can be found at www.504touch.com.

For more than a decade, Mercantile Capital Corporation has been an industry leader in promoting and streamlining the SBA 504 lending process. Its seven-document Pre-Approval Application was an early improvement that saved time and increased efficiency. Mercantile, through its MCC Labs division, conducted research to explore ways to combine touchscreen and biometric technologies to improve the experience for customers.

“When I got my first iPhone, I knew touchscreen technology would mean big things for our industry,” said Chris Hurn, CEO and cofounder of Mercantile. “It’s taken a long time to put all the pieces together, but we were finally able to introduce biometric technology to our loan application process and we think we’ve done something revolutionary.”

How It Works

At www.504touch.com, users will find a combination of touchscreen and biometric technologies, along with security and information access aided by the National Security Agency (NSA). Because Mercantile provides only SBA 504 loans, the government has granted access to certain NSA databases via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by MCC Labs. When a thumbprint is scanned by the web application, it is instantly matched with NSA data to create a loan profile for the user. The security of the application is guaranteed to be impenetrable, thanks to Mercantile’s in-depth research and participation by the NSA.

A retina scan option is in the works, and will likely be available by early May, according to Hurn.

About the SBA 504 Loan Program

The SBA 504 loan program allows small business owners to finance fixed assets (commercial real estate and equipment) with long-term, below-market, fixed interest rates. These loans are designed to finance the total project cost, including purchase price, construction/renovations, equipment, soft costs, and closing costs. A typical 504 project requires only 10 percent equity (down payment) from the small business borrower, with the remaining amount split between a first mortgage provided by a commercial lender and a second mortgage provided by a Certified Development Company (CDC). The program is self-funded and historically has been operated at a zero-subsidy status.

About Mercantile

Mercantile Capital Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Old Florida National Bank, is one of the nation’s leading providers of commercial real estate financing for small business owners via the SBA 504 loan program. As of December 31, 2013, Mercantile has closed 514 loans to fund projects worth more than $1.39 billion in 39 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. A primary aim of the SBA 504 loan program is job creation and retention, and the company’s lending activity has helped create and retain a total of 9,403 permanent jobs since 2003. An industry leader for more than a decade, Mercantile has been on the forefront of efforts to grow the SBA 504 program by making it more widely known and available to small business owners.

I really want to hear what you think about this. Leave a comment below or email me at ChrisHurn@MercantileCC.com.

Thanks for reading and sharing!

-Chris
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Contact Information
Contact info
Phone
407-786-5040
Email
Address
60 North Court Avenue, Suite 2000 Orlando, FL 32801
Story
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The Nationwide SBA 504 Loan Experts
Introduction
Mercantile Capital Corporation, the SBA 504 Experts, is the only company nationwide that exclusively focuses on providing SBA 504 loans for business owners to finance commercial property. We specialize in making the complex commercial real estate purchasing process very simple for our Clients and their advisors.

We’re not your ordinary commercial real estate lender. Because you (and your Clients)... expect and deserve the best, we specialize in commercial property financing only for owners of small and mid-sized businesses. It’s really all we do, and this niched focus has allowed us to become the industry-acknowledged experts at this type of financing.

Our SmartChoice® Commercial Loan (aka the SBA 504 loan) allows us to provide small business owners with up to 90% loan-to-cost financing, which is a pretty big deal when you crunch the numbers.