RiverWorks Credit Union gets a boost for small business lending

LYNN — RiverWorks Credit Union has been certified a U.S. Small Business Administration participating lender, which will help them make more member business loans.

“The SBA (Small Business Administration) is an agency of the federal government so this is a national loan program that we have,” said Robert Nelson, SBA director. “What we recently approved the credit union for is the ability for them to get a guarantee from the SBA, which will help them make more member business loans.”

Nelson said the SBA doesn’t lend money directly, but provides a guarantee in order to help the lender get comfortable enough to say “yes” to making the loan happen. He said the SBA guarantee is typically 75 to 85 percent of the loan amount with no downward size limit and loans up to $5 million.

Nelson said credit unions have become increasingly more important in the small business market and the certification is part of the SBA’s strategic effort to try to recruit more credit unions to become SBA lenders.

“More credit unions are getting into more small business loaning and when we look at trying to help the small businesses to access capital, it just makes a lot of sense for the SBA to work with credit unions and recruit them to become SBA lenders to train them so they can use our programs to help more small businesses to start and grow,” Nelson said.

Nelson said the SBA wants to let more small businesses know how to access SBA programs. Last year, in Massachusetts, he said the SBA helped about 2,800 small businesses to get close to $700 million in capital. Nationally, he said the figure is about $30 billion.

Peter Kopoulos, chief financial officer for RiverWorks Credit Union, which is located on Western Avenue, said getting certified was about a four to five-month process.

“This allows us to offer special loan products to small businesses,” Kopoulos said. “If they’re looking to purchase a building or something or trying to expand, we’d have something for them. The good thing about this is we can start targeting and reaching out to local community businesses, businesses that play a big role in the community. We can let them know that we have loan products to help them. We want to see small businesses succeed. We’re a small credit union. We’d like to work with small businesses.”

More Stories From Lynn