Bank of Idaho has expanded its commercial lending division, embracing the strengths of the Small Business Administration (SBA).
With an eye toward becoming the go-to SBA lender in Idaho, the bank is capitalizing upon its comprehensive expertise in SBA lending by creating a cutting-edge, stand-alone SBA department headed by Tony Vahsholtz, formerly the VP and Area Commercial Manager of the Boise Market.
"SBA lending has always been a passion of mine, and I've been doing it since 1998." Vahsholtz said. "Judging by current trends, I really think you'll see a lot of SBA lending done over the next two years. We want to be regarded as THE experts in this market."
The shift creates advantages on multiple levels: clients will benefit from the enhanced focus of the new department; and the bank gains assurance because a larger portion of its small-business lending portfolio will be backed by the SBA.
Bank President and CEO Jeff Newgard said adding a specialized department was a boots-on-the ground decision made after booking more than 1,000 PPP loans in a matter of weeks. "Our loan officers along with our small-business customers are really finding that the SBA is tailoring programs to provide a lifeline that's not available anywhere else. So it only makes sense to get that help to the small-business community as quickly and efficiently as possible.
" For instance, the SBA has introduced a program in which they'll cover the first six payments of loans booked before the end of September. "That's huge. For larger loans, that could be hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Vahsholtz said. "And I imagine they'll make new offers as well, as the recovery continues. We want to be there to make sure small businesses in Idaho are first in line."
Vahsholtz officially began work in his new role on August 17. He relishes the unique opportunity. "Bank of Idaho expanded into the Boise market when I signed on, just over a year ago, and this is very similar. We start up, expand, find the right people, and book some loans,” he said. “We’re very adept at growing the bank by simply addressing our customers’ needs. It's great to work at a place that operates like that."