Rick Wallace (above, center), the executive director of Lincoln's Community Development Resources, has earned the nod as the SBA's Nebraska Financial Services Champion for 2012.
Nebraska District Director Leon Milobar (above, right) presented the award to Wallace in a ceremony hosted by the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce June 28 at the Nebraska Club.
Nebraska Business Development Center Omaha Director Cliff Mosteller (above, left) nominated Wallace for the honor.
The SBA Nebraska District Office named one outstanding financial services provider to represent the state based on the amount and quality of assistance given small businesses to obtain financing outside of normal duties, advocacy for changes in the financial services industry to assist small companies, encouragement of the flow of investment capital to small ventures, active support for legislative or regulatory action with measurable results designed to help small firms.
Wallace, a native of Hastings, Neb., had the business know-how to help start-up businesses after years running a highway construction firm in Nebraska. With a mission to help others to start their own successful business, Wallace’s organization in Lincoln, then known as the Self Employment Loan Fund (SELF), would make loans up to $5,000 to low- and moderate-income residents who sought funding to start a business. As these businesses grew, they would pay off their loan so the money in turn could finance further start-ups.
In 2003, SELF became CDR, and a certified SBA microlender; the next year, CDR became a Community Development Financial Institution under the U.S. Treasury Department, with a core purpose to offer financial products and services to people and communities underserved by traditional financial markets. By 2007, the non-profit could loan up to $100,000 to start or expand a small business.
“Our mission was to make a big impact with small amounts of money,” Wallace said.
Then, in 2010, the SBA certified CDR as a 504 lender, able to use a powerful economic development loan program to offer small businesses in Nebraska another avenue for business financing, while promoting business growth, and job creation. The 504 Loan Program provides approved small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. 504 loans are made available through Certified Development Companies, such as CDR, SBA's community based partners for providing 504 Loans.
Wallace continues to partner with lenders, Chambers of Commerce and economic development associations across the state through online marketing and word-of-mouth to help promote CDR’s ability to offer loans under the 504 program. CDR already has a strong history of providing capital to more than 250 small businesses in the Lincoln area, creating more than 500 new jobs, many in economically-distressed areas of the city.
In economic downturns, SBA guaranteed loans, including the 504 program, typically become more attractive because the SBA provides lenders with some cushion for their risks. Lenders can provide SBA guaranteed loans for all business needs but typically turn to SBA for new businesses or businesses with less than adequate collateral, lower credit scores and smaller equity injections typically required for conventional loans.
Finally, in 2011, Lincoln business pioneer Alice Dittman and Barbara Bartle, President of the Lincoln Community Foundation, announced the creation of Alice’s Integrity Loan Fund – a $1 million micro-lending program to assist business visionaries who have been underserved by traditional financial institutions. Dittman, once the CEO of Cornhusker Bank, saw an opportunity for her passion to meet a need within the community.
Dittman selected CDR to administer the program by providing technical assistance to loan recipients; using resources already established through the Nebraska Business Development Center, SCORE, the University of Nebraska Lincoln and Southeast Community College, the Fund will offer one-on-one assistance, networking, and educational opportunities as well as seed capital for small businesses.
Wallace also served as a Public Process Consultant in the Antelope Valley Investment Study which aims to improve downtown Lincoln transportation and include 90-some businesses in an effort to spur neighborhood revitalization.