Team Spotlight: Sue, Amber, and Mari help businesses get the lending they need with SBA loans
May 09, 2023
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities
They bring vibrancy to our neighborhoods and strength to our local economies. They allow people to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and gain personal wealth that otherwise might have been out of reach.
For many small business owners, securing a loan when you need it can be a make-or-break moment when launching or growing a business. We are committed to helping small businesses thrive and grow by providing fair and flexible lending options, including SBA (Small Business Administration) loans. SBA loans have flexible terms and low interest rates, making them a great option for small business owners.
Our SBA team works diligently behind-the-scenes to make sure our clients have the best experience possible. We want to pull back the curtains to highlight three of our stellar senior SBA team members who work every day to make these loans a reality for business owners.
Let’s meet them!
SBA Loan Processing Manager
Based in: Folsom, CA
Amber started her SBA Lending career in 1992. “I’ve worked in SBA Lending at both banks and non-bank lenders,” says Amber. “I started in the file room at The Money Store assisting SBA Auditors with compliance audits. That type of introduction to SBA loans has proven vital in understanding the process from start to finish.” Since then, Amber has worked in all aspects of SBA lending, including origination, processing, and underwriting.
Amber says, “To have found a bank with a mission and vision such as ours is a rare find and it aligns very well with my own values. I feel good about the work I do daily, and I know that our approach to lending is one to be proud of. It’s a true pleasure to go through the process with borrowers and a privilege to be a part of the moment that their life as a small business owner changes for the better.”
Outside of work, Amber has a strong passion for exploring other cultures and has spent time in many developing nations where she has enjoyed honing her photography skills with the local wildlife as her subjects (the Mountain Gorilla of Uganda being her favorite).
In her free time, Amber loves to cook, travel, garden, and spend time with her daughter Evynn, her dog Goose, and her cat Sage.
Based in: Fresno, CA
Mari started her banking career at the age of nineteen as a Teller and has been in SBA lending since 1992. "I worked in retail banking for two years, then moved to commercial lending, working with all sorts of loan products, including SBA," says Mari.
She learned about Beneficial State Bank while working as the Credit Director for a local Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). While there, she met a few Beneficial State Bank employees through her Loan Committee and joint meetings. “I knew during our meeting that the mission and vision of Beneficial State Bank was very interesting to me and when I learned about an open position, I jumped at the opportunity and I couldn’t be happier,” she says.
She explains that there is a misconception that SBA loans require a lot of paperwork, but they are quite similar to conventional loans. “SBA has a few extra documents, but not as many as you might think," Mari explains.
"Sometimes people think SBA loans are the 'loans of last resort,' but if an SBA loan is needed, borrowers should know about that option from the beginning," says Mari. "That’s why we show our prospective borrowers both conventional and SBA loan options right away.”
When she’s not at the bank, you’ll find Mari volunteering at the Marjaree Mason Cener, a Fresno-based organization that supports victims of domestic violence and helps survivors rebuild their lives in a safe and healthy environment. Mari has been volunteering with the Marjorie Mason Center for the last eighteen years.
Mari loves spending time with her cats Nala, Tory, Stella, and her most recent rescue, Charli. She also enjoys wine tasting, great food, great company, and working in her yard on sunny days.
Title: Relationship Manager
Based in: Folsom, CA
Sue moved from New York to California after ten years of teaching high school business classes in low-to-moderate-income schools. Her plan was to pursue a teaching career in California. However, while taking some time off and working at Bella Mia Restaurant in Saratoga, California, she met the Branch Manager of the top SBA Non-Bank Lender — The Money Store. She began working there the following week as a Credit Analyst/Sales Assistant for the Northern California market.
At that time, Sue didn’t know much about SBA, but she was excited and motivated to learn all aspects of it. Within one year, she became an Underwriter, then decided sitting behind a desk wasn’t for her. She loved working directly with business owners, so she became a Business Development Officer, which she continued doing for 26 years.
She worked at a few larger SBA institutions that were all about the bottom line, but Sue’s passion was to help small business owners achieve their dreams. “When I learned about the mission at Beneficial State Bank, I thought it would be a better fit for me and my values," says Sue. “It was also nice that some former colleagues already worked at the bank and shared the same values.”
Sue works directly with clients from the beginning and supports them through the entire streamlined process that she’s developed. She gets her team involved right away so that clients avoid the “transfer from department-to-department” experience — something that Sue takes pride in. If there’s any mention of owner-user or business purchase with a prospect, Sue and the SBA team jump right in and determine if SBA is the right fit for them.
Outside of her role at Beneficial State Bank, Sue loves to travel with her two grown children and friends.
Our SBA team is growing! Learn more about our open positions.
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