Tips from our SBA Program Director

How We Put Our Borrowers First

Community First Bank (CFB) has always sought to provide its customers with the best possible banking experience and be relationship oriented. This has served the bank well during the past 20 years allowing it to grow into what it is today. In the SBA department here at CFB, we follow that same model.  Here’s our story:

The Old Model:

Prior to the summer of 2022 CFB, much like many other banks, had largely used outside assistance known as Lender Service Providers to administer SBA loans to borrowers. Having a third party in between the bank and the borrower often created extra steps in the process that slowed progress toward closing and funding. Also, Lender Service Providers are supporting many SBA lenders at the same time. Meaning, if a processor had several loans working, it was possible for a borrower file to not be worked for a period of time. This also at times limited communication between the bank and the borrower, diluting the customer experience. One of the top points of feedback around the typical SBA loan process is timing. Having additional parties in the process does not maximize efficiency and the bank sought a remedy.

The New Model (“The CFB Way”):

Beginning in early 2022, CFB began building an internal SBA department to handle all aspects of the program and processed its first loans internally late in the summer. This has created a direct partnership between the bank and the borrower that improves communication and speeds up loan processing. CFB can get to a loan decision quicker, reserve funds with SBA directly, and work effectively with the borrower on closing and funding a loan. We’ve been thrilled with the positive feedback received from our clients on the new process.

The Results:

CFB uniquely has the ability to process an SBA loan internally from end to end. This provides borrowers with a much more personalized experience navigating through what could be a complicated and confusing process. For the 2023 government fiscal year, CFB provided 25 total SBA 7(a) loans for $12 million dollars to 19 different borrowers. This is the largest single year of SBA loan production in the bank’s history by dollars and ties for the most units in a year. CFB ranks in the top 10 SBA lenders for the state of Indiana for the SBA fiscal year of 2023. We are really excited about our success and are looking forward to building upon it in 2024. The ability to process SBA in a timely and efficient manner has proven an effective and valuable way to put our borrowers first.

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