Top Community/Rural Lender of the Year honor goes to First State Bank Nebraska
The Small Business Administration has named First State Bank Nebraska as the Cornhusker State’s Community/Rural Lender of the Year for 2012, and honored the achievement May 16 at the lender's offices in Lincoln.
SBA Nebraska District Director Leon Milobar presented the award to First State Bank Nebraska CEO Thomas Damkroger.
The SBA recognizes one locally-owned and operated lender which dedicates its commercial lending operations to develop new business and through visionary leadership building relationships with its clients beyond its immediate financial needs.
First State Bank Nebraska CEO Tom Dankroger (holding award), Nebraska Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy (to left), Nebraska District Office District Director Leon Milobar (to right), and bank vice-president Debbie Cooper and president Jeff Krejci (to right of Milobar) during the presentation at the lender's loan production office in Lincoln May 16.
Impressive track record of SBA lending
In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, First State Bank Nebraska made 22 SBA guaranteed loans for $5.8 million to firms seeking to grow or establish a new business. As of Sept. 30, 2011, the bank enjoyed 86 SBA financed loans for $7.75 million on its books.
"Through its visionary leadership based on building relationships with clients in southeast Nebraska by looking beyond their immediate financial needs, they help boost the confidence of existing small business in its economically underserved markets in the southeast part of our state allowing them to expand despite difficult economic times," said SBA Nebraska District Office Lead Lender Relations Specialist Mike Niehaus, who nominated the lender for the honor.
First State Bank Nebraska serves its customers with 15 branch locations and two loan production offices across southeast Nebraska. They have offered banking, as they say, "on a first name basis" since its founding in 1912 as a state chartered bank in rural Hickman, Neb., later opening offices in Lincoln. By 2004, Wilber Co., the holding company owning Saline State Bank of Wilber, acquired First State Bank and the Bank of Yutan; five years later, the holding company bought Filley Bank, and a year later merged those with two new acquisitions. Today, First State Bank Nebraska leverages the convenience of technology with the friendliness of a long time neighborhood community lender, offering the latest banking products resulting in steady growth, including more than $350 million in assets.
Area small business success evidence of lender's efforts
The examples of successful small business below illustrate how First State Bank Nebraska teamed with the SBA to help communities in which the lender serves to be better places to work, live and grow.
Gana Trucking & Excavating, Inc. has taken advantage of the SBA's standard guaranty loan program twice, first in the fall of 2009 and again in July 2011 to refinance equipment debts to lower monthly payments and dramatically improve business cash flow. This Martell, Neb., based site preparation contractor over the years has added more trucks, excavating and site preparation equipment, and more employees--these days, around 100 people. The combination of SBA loans allowed the business room to purchase more equipment to meet an increased workload.
The current owner of Midwest Underground, Inc., an underground utility construction company with an office in Lincoln, and operations out of Syracuse, Neb., went to First State Bank Nebraska in 2009 to refinance all of its debt. Using an SBA standard loan, the bank dropped Midwest Underground's monthly payments in half. As a result, the company was strong enough to weather the economic downturn and even explore new markets, including county and state highway work and railroad work. Since the SBA loan approval, the company has grown from 10 workers to 12 full-time employees.
Then there are 97 Holdings, LLC and Plainview Enterprises, LLC, two companies formed by the Titchner family to open a new Mexican fast food restaurant in northeast Lincoln, an area with limited available dining options. Years ago, Dan Titchner left the family home in Colorado to attend the University of Nebraska, where he was a starting punter on the Cornhuskers football team and was a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 student. After graduation, he stayed in Lincoln, luring his brother, Matt, to the area. With a combination of SBA programs, First State Bank Nebraska provided start-up financing for a real estate purchase, other start-up capital and an operating line of credit. As a result, the new restaurant created 26 new jobs.
Finally, First State Bank Nebraska provided with the SBA's help a line of credit for inventory for Vine Street Market, the lone grocery store in Yutan, a town of about 1,200 near the Platte River. Dan Josoff, a farmer by trade and the new owner of the place, figured he'd apply his experience working for the grocery and make it a family business; his two oldest daughters work with him at his feed lot and on the farm, and when school closed because of a snowstorm, they’re down at the store stocking shelves. His sister’s two oldest kids already expect to be at the store during the summer, working at the register.
Strong presence in southeast Nebraska community
First State Bank Nebraska also is proud to participate in the American Bankers Association programs Teach Children to Save and Get Smart About Credit, and with the Nebraska Lawyers Trust Account Foundation with the Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts, which provides legal assistance to indigent people. Moreover, bank employees serve their community in a wide range of ways, from volunteer firefighters, paramedics and EMTs; leading high school 4-H clubs; mentoring at local schools; and serving on chambers of commerce, village and city boards.