Midwest Bank Center today announced that the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) has granted Preferred Lender Program (PLP) status to Midwest BankCentre. Achieving PLP status is an important milestone for Midwest BankCentre in its growth in the small business banking market.
SBA Preferred Lender status allows Midwest BankCentre to streamline its commercial lending process by eliminating significant timing and documentation hurdles that can add weeks of closing to a transaction. This gives borrowers the ability to reach their financing goals faster and more efficiently.
“With this designation, we can now underwrite loans in-house, streamlining and speeding up the process. Average closing times can drop from 75-90 days to 45-60 days,” said Hakim Kassam, senior vice president of SBA loans at the Midwest BankCentre. “We have worked hard to provide business loans and achieving this status shows our commitment to small business loans and our business communities.”
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The SBA only grants membership in the program to financial institutions with a proven capability and commitment to small business lending and strict adherence to SBA guidelines.
Midwest BankCentre’s growth in SBA lending has been rapid. In September 2021, Midwest BankCentre expanded its SBA commercial banking team by adding a new staff of five dedicated to SBA lending expertise. The team is led by Kassam, who has focused on SBA loans for nearly 25 years. Due to its success, the team continues to grow and now has eight members dedicated to SBA lending expertise. Midwest BankCentre has just announced the hiring of Caroline Gegg as Vice President – SBA Business Development Officer. Gegg has over 37 years of banking experience and has focused on the small business banking industry for the past 32 years. Its primary markets include Missouri and Southern Illinois, but it can also finance transactions nationwide. Gegg has been a top ten SBA lender in the St. Louis District Office for several years.
“Carolyn is passionate about serving businesses on Main Street USA, which make up the vast majority of the nation’s economy,” Kassam said. “She provides right-sized expertise and personalized attention to small businesses to help them secure the affordable financing they need to grow.”
The bank’s veteran and trusted team of experienced lending professionals leveraged its close working relationship with the SBA to receive the PLP designation in a short time. Midwest BankCentre’s SBA Loan Program operates nationwide and currently offers SBA 7(a) and SBA 504 business loans.
The SBA created the PLP to streamline procedures and enable rapid processing of applications so that it can provide financial assistance to small businesses more quickly. Preferred status lenders have broad authority to make and service SBA-guaranteed loans and can use their underwriting and servicing policies. To earn the PLP designation, lenders must establish a successful track record and display a thorough understanding of SBA lending policies and procedures.