by Sue Ann Rybak
Banking Grades, which rates banks according to the number of loans in relationship to deposits, presented Valley Green Bank with the bankinggrades.com 2012 Small Business Bank Award on July 17 at the bank’s headquarters, 7226 Germantown Ave.
Banking Grades gives every bank in America (that files an FDIC call report) a grade for its small business lending activity. The Small Business Bank Award is given to a bank that receives an “A” from Banking Grades. To receive an “A,” a bank must use 25 percent or more of its deposits to make loans of $1 million dollars or less.
Ami Kassar, founder of Banking Grades, said Valley Green Bank “exemplifies …what a bank should be doing” by actively lending to small businesses.
Kassar, CEO of Multifunding, a brokerage that helps businesses obtain loans, said he built bankinggrades.com to “create a tool to help small-business owners and entrepreneurs quickly find small-business friendly banks, who are willing to offer guidance, advice and assistance” to small businesses and entrepreneurs.
“Valley Green is actively out there, lending to small businesses, creating jobs and making entrepreneurs,” Kassar said. “Valley Green is a bank committed to small business lending … and works every day to help small business owners and entrepreneurs nurture their dreams.”
“Coming out of every economic recovery so far in history, 65 percent of new jobs are created by small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Kassar said.
Jay Goldstein, president and CEO of Valley Green Bank, said that when Valley Green Bank first opened its doors six years ago, its mission was to serve the local business community. He added that he couldn’t think of “a more appropriate honor of what was our original mission than to receive this award.”
Several small-business owners shared their stories of how Valley Green Bank has helped their businesses thrive and grow.
Glenn Bergman, general manager of Weavers Way Co-op, said that after 30-some years of owning one market, the co-op wanted to expand, and it went to the national co-op bank and several credit unions to apply for a small-business loan.
“We were not able to get loans for our project,” Bergman said.
Finally, after sitting down with Goldstein and other members of the bank, Bergman said the co-op was “able to get the help and advice that we were not able to get anywhere else.”
Thanks to Valley Green Bank, he said, Weavers Way was able to buy local products and continue to support local farmers and other small businesses.
Another Valley Green Bank client, Portia Scott Palko, said through no fault of its own, her company, Central Bark Doggy Day Care in Philadelphia, was forced to relocate.
“The building we were in was up for sale,” Palko said.
She said that thanks to Leslie McGowen, vice president of commercial lending at Valley Green Bank, the process was made “seamless and easy.”
Dana Russikoff, co-owner of SureShade said, “As a manufacturer, exporter and a small business, we unfortunately found ourselves in the difficult position of trying to obtain funding because of our start-up growth … and the state of the economy” – it was difficult.
“We turned to the SBA and began working with Valley Green Bank,” Russikoff said, adding that the bank “really facilitated the process for us.”
She said the bank “enabled us to support our growth and be able to meet the increased demand for our products – much of our success is owed to Valley Green Bank.”