Pagosa Daily Post, July 24, 2013
The Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC) has appointed a Board of Advisors (Advisors) that are involved in a wide variety of roles driving our community forward. Most of them touch deliverables in our Community Development Action Plan (CDAP) approved by the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC).
The CDC will begin to feature articles on individual Advisors and the value they bring to the community. The first is Sherry Waner, Government Guaranteed Lending Specialist, First Southwest Bank.
According to the Institute for Local Self Reliance, “The financial sector is one of the fastest growing parts of our economy. In 1970, more than 95 percent of currency trades were for activities linked to what many call the “real economy” – investment, tourism, foreign aid, trade. Today only two percent are. This increased speculation has been accompanied by the physical delinking of our financial institutions from our communities. The number of independent banks is lower than at any time since 1934 and the tidal wave of mergers and acquisitions continues to shrink that number.”
First Southwest is a regional, independent community bank. Small businesses, which create the majority of new jobs, depend heavily on small, local banks like First Southwest Bank for financing. Although small and mid-sized banks control less than one-quarter of all bank assets, they account for more than half of all small business lending. Loan approvals and other key decisions are made locally by people who live in the community, have face-to-face relationships with their customers, and understand local needs.
Sherry said her bank’s primary focus is “Assisting small businesses in the communities that the bank serves—whether it is a new business that is starting up or is up, running and seasoned, but needing help to expand. Our bank has chosen to focus on making it easier to get that money out there in the communities that we serve by utilizing the government’s own programs such as the USDA; SBA or CHAFA; or whoever the bank is utilizing while the bank still performs the same underwriting practices that we normally would. The stamp of approval from a governmental agency, that will guarantee a percentage of the loan, makes it easier for the regional bank to cover capital requirements and do more local business lending. Our bank provides the particular expertise to navigate through the paperwork.” Sherry said, “It can be quite a process, especially with someone that is just starting a business.”