SBA Recognizes 2024 Export Lender Award Winners

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Export Lenders of the Year and International Trade Lender of the Year are from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Michigan

WASHINGTON, April 01, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Administrator Isabel Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the voice in President Biden’s Cabinet for America’s more than 33 million small businesses, announced the 2024 Export Lender of the Year Award winners. This year, the SBA’s Office of International Trade selected Fulton Bank, N.A. and First American Bank as the 2024 Export Lenders of the Year, and Lake Michigan Credit Union as the 2024 International Trade Lender of the Year. 

“The SBA has long worked to create pathways for small businesses to grow and diversify their revenues and create good-paying jobs through international trade, and the SBA’s network of export lenders provide those opportunities through SBA trade financing,” said Administrator Guzman. “Our 2024 Export Lender Award winners set the standard for powering America’s entrepreneurs to successfully compete in the global marketplace and continue our historic economic recovery under President Biden’s leadership.”   
 
“Access to capital remains a critical component of any business involved in international trade, and the export financing and working capital provided by lending institutions is crucial to closing the trade finance gap which all too often holds many businesses back from international opportunities,” said Daniel Krupnick, Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade. “Congratulations to these outstanding lending partners, who collectively fuel the engines of our nation’s small business exporters.”  
 
The SBA’s Export Lender of the Year Awards recognize excellence in export financing. These awards highlight the accomplishments of lenders in delivering SBA’s international finance programs to small businesses, designed to help small businesses develop new markets, finance export transactions, and expand capacity to meet overseas demand. 

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U.S. exports are critical to the nation’s economy, with over 97% of all exporters being small businesses. During fiscal year 2023, the SBA guaranteed $495 million in financing to small business exporters, which supported over $1.3 billion in export sales. 

Export Lenders of the Year:

Fulton Bank  

Fulton Bank is a community bank headquartered in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, with operations in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. Fulton’s SBA department is a central component of the Bank’s Commercial Lending line of business, with Export Working Capital Program (EWCP) solutions delivered to small business exporters in collaboration with the Bank’s International Group which provides an array of financing and payment services to their internationally focused clients. EWCP is an integral component of Fulton Bank’s comprehensive line-up of SBA offerings and typically accounts for 10% – 15% of Fulton’s annual SBA loan volume. 

“We are proud to be named as an Export Lender of the Year for our ongoing commitment to supporting small and internationally focused businesses across the mid-Atlantic,” said Chris Brown, Director of SBA Lending at Fulton Bank. “As trusted advisors to our clients, we work with the SBA to provide unique offerings, like the EWCP, to ensure small and internationally focused businesses have the funds needed to grow and thrive.” 

First American Bank

First American Bank is an Illinois-chartered, privately held bank, with locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Florida. For more than a decade, the SBA’s export loan programs have been the central component of the Bank’s Trade Finance Department, as First American has been a longstanding delegated EWCP lender. In 2023, First American Bank added more than $7 million in new financing to its export loan portfolio using all three export loan programs. This is First American’s second Export Lender of the Year selection, as the institution was also recognized with the award in 2017.   

“First American Bank is dedicated to meeting our customers’ needs, whether that be in the domestic or international arena,” said James D. Matteson, First Vice President and SBA Program Manager. “As a full-relationship institution, we have an experienced team of lenders to support customers with any lending solution specifically in trade finance. Our consultative approach allows us to tailor solutions for our customers so they can further grow their businesses. First American Bank is honored to accept this award for the second time and looks forward to continuing to help small businesses access the necessary capital to expand and diversify their customer base in this ever-changing global landscape.” 

International Trade Lender of the Year

Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU)

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is the 16th largest credit union in the nation with almost $13 billion in assets and has operations throughout Michigan and Florida. LMCU expanded into SBA lending by way of their acquisition of Pilot Bank in 2021 and has since made supporting small businesses, including exporters, a central part of their mission by supporting their commercial members to help their businesses grow and prosper. In 2023, LMCU was the top International Trade Lender by count, providing more than $21 million in support to small business exporters.   
 
“LMCU is honored to be named an Export Lender of the Year which underscores our SBA team’s unwavering dedication to empowering small businesses to achieve their full potential,” said Javier Jorge, Senior Vice President and SBA Lending Director at LMCU. “Our SBA lending experts understand the exporting business and educate our business members throughout the loan process to ensure they get the financing they need so they can achieve their goals. It’s a privilege to develop long-term relationships with local small business owners and watch their businesses grow – and in turn, help our communities thrive.”   

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About SBA’s Export & Working Capital Programs  
The SBA maintains a suite of three export loan programs designed to aid small businesses expanding internationally. The SBA’s flagship export program is the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP), an asset-based credit line that can support both purchase orders and receivable financing. The International Trade Loan (ITL) is a 7(a) program that can support export capacity building and the reshoring of production. Finally, the Export Express program is a complement to the SBA Express program which is positioned to support quick access to small-dollar financing needs. Additional details on the SBA’s export loan programs can be found at www.sba.gov/international.  

About the U.S. Small Business Administration 
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

CONTACT: Christine Saah-Nazer U.S. Small Business Administration 202-756-0304 [email protected] Han Nguyen U.S. Small Business Administration 202-756-0304 Rebecca Galanti U.S. Small Business Administration 202-756-0304 [email protected] 

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