TxCDC‘s Jesse Trevino Honored with Prestigious Golden Eagle Award

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For Extensive Commitment to Rio Grande Valley

79Jesse Trevino, a Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC) representative and a stalwart educational leader in the Rio Grande Valley, was named the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Golden Eagle Award by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors. The award recognizes Trevino’s commitment to education and service to the community.

“It has been an honor to work with Jesse Trevino and we congratulate him on receiving this award,” said TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero. “He has been our TxCDC representative in the lower Rio Grande Valley, introducing bankers and business owners to the SBA 504 program and to TxCDC. As an experienced businessman, he knows the value of receiving favorable financing for business assets. He enjoys talking to area bankers and business owners about the benefits of the 504 program and TxCDC loves working with Jesse.”

A Passion for Education
Trevino began his career as a sixth-grade teacher in Alice Independent School District (ISD) after graduating from the University of Texas-Austin. During his one year working in the classroom, Trevino took 11 students on a field trip to Austin and San Antonio in order to expand their experiences. This trip included visits to the Texas Capitol, the Governor’s Mansion, the University of Texas, the Alamo and the San Antonio Zoo. However, by the end of the school year Trevino decided to pursue other career options due to the low salary paid to teachers.

Still, education remained close to Trevino’s heart. He served 11 years on the McAllen ISD Board of Trustees, including two terms as board president. He also served for nine years on the Region 1 Education Service Center’s board, including one year as president. Trevino was a founding board member and served as chairman of the board of the Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA) for 32 years. IDRA, founded by the late Dr. Jose Angel Cardenas and based in San Antonio, is an independent, non-profit organization that promotes and supports education for all students through curriculum development, teacher training, research and technical assistance. He currently remains on the IDRA board.

Committed to Developing the Valley Area
After leaving the classroom, Trevino worked for the U.S. Department of Labor as a compliance officer for the Bracero Program. In that role, he assisted local farmers in remaining compliant on labor contracts. He also was selected by U.S. Senator Lloyd Bentsen to develop the Council for South Texas Economic Progress, Inc. (COSTEP), which promoted economic programs for South Texas. He currently serves as the COSTEP chairman.

In 1959, Trevino founded the Jesse Trevino Insurance Agency in McAllen. He expanded the company to include offices in San Antonio, Mercedes, Edinburg and Raymondville. In his professional capacity, Trevino served as president of the McAllen Independent Agents Association for two terms and as a director of the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas.

Trevino also founded the Tripa Club, a renowned networking opportunity for residents of the Rio Grande Valley. This twice-a-year event drew up to 500 attendees, including business leaders and elected state and federal officials, who enjoyed tripas, mollejas, guisado, pork sausage, guacamole and corn tortillas. Trevino also started the “Tripero Distinguido Award,” which honored recipients such as U.S. Ambassador Tony Garza, the late U.S. Federal Judge Reynaldo Garza, and Laredo businessman and former gubernatorial candidate Tony Sanchez. The Tripa Club continued for 40 years and by its end, had 1,500 members.

A Valuable Member of TxCDC‘s Team
Trevino retired soon after selling his business to his son-in-law in 2013. He soon began looking for other avenues to pursue so he could remain busy. One opportunity came from TxCDC, thanks to the organization’s founder, Paul Tovar, who was one of the students that Trevino taught in sixth grade and who had stayed in touch with his former teacher.

In his new role with TxCDC, Trevino is drawn to the opportunity to use his contacts to help the Rio Grande Valley prosper. “Economic expansion is always to the area’s benefit,” Trevino said. “If I can help some of the businessmen that I know and work with some of the bankers who I have met, that keeps me active and doing something that also will help the community.”

by Dorian Martin

Rowland’s Experience with Small Business, CDCs and Banking Helps Her Develop Loans to Meet Each Owner’s Needs

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A Tailor-Made Approach to Loans

by Dorian Martin
72Colleen Rowland, the recipient of the 2013 Financial Services Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration’s San Antonio District Office, believes in the power of small business owners to make a difference in their community – and has extensive knowledge to help them succeed. Every decision that the PlainsCapital Bank vice president makes in creating a SBA 504 loan is steeped in her unique background, which ties together experience in small business, certified development companies and bank lending departments.

During her childhood, Rowland would listen as her parents and grandparents, who were small business owners and operators, describe the issues they faced in their enterprises. Growing up in this environment, Rowland developed empathy for entrepreneurs. “I always try to have the small business owner’s best interests at heart,” Rowland said. “My team takes a hands-on approach and develops a structure that matches the loan products with the financing needs of the business so the company can achieve healthy growth and maximize their profitability.”

Another unique part of Rowland’s background includes being responsible for the establishment of a certified development company in 1990. At that time, she was tasked with founding and operating Capital Certified Development Corporation through the Texas Department of Commerce. This CDC was created to give all small businesses in Texas — especially those in underserved areas such as West Texas — access to SBA 504 loans.

Rowland also has more than three decades of experience in the loan business, working at banks such as Frost National Bank, American National Bank in Gonzales and State Bank. At the latter, she established loan operations for the bank’s SBA division that achieved the status of SBA Preferred Lender within the first six month of operations.

After joining PlainsCapital in 2006, Rowland assisted with the establishment of the bank’s SBA division where all SBA-backed loans are processed and serviced for the bank’s 20-plus branches. PlainsCapital currently has some 170 active SBA loans on its books and enjoys increased volume each year due to high customer satisfaction and SBA recommendations. SBA’s 7a Loan Processing Center in Sacramento, California and their National Guaranty Purchase Center in Herndon, VA have both told Rowland that her loan packages are “the best in the nation.”

While Rowland has worked periodically with TxCDC on SBA 504 loans since the 1990s, she’s built a closer working relationship with TxCDC‘s staff during the last few years. “I really enjoy working with TxCDC‘s staff because they are first and foremost knowledgeable about the 504 Loan Program and all aspects of commercial lending since many of their staff members have commercial banking backgrounds,” she said. “They are accessible and responsive when I call them, when I need shared information, and when I have questions. Finally, they are professional, friendly and courteous. I feel that a ‘familial bond’ exists in our relationship. We can freely discuss the pros and cons associated with the projects we work on, and this clear and candid line of communication is priceless. I can ask them to directly interact with our customers and know that they will take care of them just as I do.”

TxCDC staff members return the accolades, describing Rowland as “responsive, pro-active, pleasant and positive.”TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero said, “Colleen’s commitment to helping small businesses grow and prosper underscores everything she does on a daily basis. She has been instrumental in making sure that loans are available to qualified businesses and searches for ways to spread the word that SBA loans are available to support Texas small business owners.”

PlainsCapital Bank’s Colleen Rowland Honored with District SBA Awards

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TxCDC Press Release – June 26th, 2013

PlainsCapital Bank Vice President for SBA Lending Colleen Rowland has been named the recipient of the 2013 Financial Services Champion of the Year by the Small Business Administration’s San Antonio District Office. The award was announced in April 2013.72

“Colleen’s commitment to helping small businesses grow and prosper underscores everything she does on a daily basis,” said Texas Certified Development Company President Suzanna Caballero, who nominated Rowland for the award. “She has been instrumental in making sure that loans are available to qualified businesses and searches for ways to spread the word that SBA loans are available to support Texas small business owners.”

Rowland has a unique background, which includes experience in small business, certified development companies and bank lending departments. Her grandparents and parents ran small businesses, which helped Rowland develop an appreciation for the challenges that entrepreneurs face.

A second component of Rowland’s background includes the establishment of a certified development company in 1990. At that time, she was tasked with founding and operating Capital Certified Development Corporation through the Texas Department of Commerce. This CDC was created to give all small businesses in Texas – especially those in underserved areas such as West Texas – access to SBA 504 loans.

Rowland also has more than three decades of experience working in bank loan departments, including Frost National Bank, American National Bank in Gonzales and State Bank. At the latter, she established loan operations for the bank’s SBA division, which achieved the status of SBA Preferred Lender within the first six month of operations.

In her current role with PlainsCapital, Rowland was instrumental in establishing the bank’s SBA division where all SBA-backed loans are processed and serviced for the bank’s 20-plus branches. PlainsCapital currently has some 170 active SBA loans on its books and enjoys increased volume each year due to high customer satisfaction and SBA recommendations.

Rowland takes pride in helping entrepreneurs succeed in growing their businesses. “I always try to have the small business owner’s best interests at heart,” she said. “My team takes a hands-on approach and develops a structure that matches the loan products with the financing needs of the business so the company can achieve healthy growth and maximize their profitability.”


Texas Certified Development Company

Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC) grew out of one man’s passion to help business owners realize their dreams, and in the process help create jobs and stimulate the economy. At TxCDC, we’re all about creating jobs. We know one of the greatest challenges faced by small businesses is access to capital. That’s why we make it easy for eligible small business owners to apply for loans to use for fixed assets, such as building acquisition, construction or expansion, land purchases and site improvements, or major machinery or equipment to grow their business. Providing small businesses with capital leads to job creation, business growth and increased tax revenues for the community. For more information, please visit txcdc.com.

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Media Contact:
Blyth Rehberg Director of Marketing, Texas Certified Development Company
Phone: 512-433-1114 | brehberg@txcdc.com

 

Business Owners Greatly Benefit from 504 Debt Refinance Program

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Eddie Wilson avoided taking out a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan for a long time. But in 2012, he turned to Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC) to help him deal with a balloon payment on a mortgage note on the North Austin location of Threadgill’s Restaurant. TxCDC’s staff pointed Wilson to a 504 Debt Refinance loan, thus ensuring that the legendary restaurant would continue to thrive.

Refinancing A Good Businessman Caught in a Bad Economic Recession
Like many small business owners, Wilson tried to make the right decisions to grow his business. He had purchased the iconic location in the early 1980s, changing its format from a tavern where rednecks, beatniks, hippies, folkies and musicians such as Janis Joplin had once converged into a Southern-style restaurant. Based on the success of the restaurant’s new format, Wilson opened Threadgill’s World Headquarters in South Austin in 1996.

During the course of his ownership, Wilson modified his original mortgage on the North Lamar location several times in order to have funds available for renovations and to make repairs after a fire damaged the restaurant. Although he made all of his mortgage payments on time, Wilson got caught in the national recession when his lender could not renew the note due to the bank’s deteriorated capital. That sent Wilson scrambling for replacement funding. Thanks to TxCDC, he was able to use the Temporary Refinance Loan program to borrow 90 percent of the current appraisal on the North Lamar restaurant and place it on loan at a rate of 3.92 percent over a 20-year period. The financing was divided between the bank (50 percent) and the SBA (40 percent). Wilson was responsible for the remaining 10 percent of the amount using equity already existing on the building.

Potential Reauthorization of Debt Refinance Program
Wilson is just one of many small business owners who benefited from this loan program before it expired in September 2012. Nationally, 2,700 businesses that had a mortgage for at least two years were able to take advantage of these favorable terms to refinance nearly $7 billion in old, expensive and often poorly structured debt.  “The measure literally saved thousands of businesses in communities across the country during the recession, helping them accelerate the economic recovery,” an SBA press release stated.

However, the window to get this type of loan was very short. The Debt Refinance program was originally enacted as part of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, but didn’t become fully operational until February 2012. This delay significantly shortened the period of time that businesses could use 504 loans to refinance qualifying existing debt.

Now U.S. legislators are considering reauthorizing the program, which is part of the Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) Act. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced a five-year extension of the Debt Refinance program as part of the CREED Act that would, if passed, offer capital access to more than 250,000 additional U.S. businesses, saving them up to $20,000 per month. The saved money will be used to fuel economic growth. The CREED Act has had hearings by the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, which Landrieu chairs. A similar measure has been introduced in the House Small Business Committee by Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif). That measure has eight co-sponsors.

TxCDC Officials Encourage Legislators to Act
TxCDC officials met in mid-March with members of Congress and their aides to discuss the importance of extending the Debt Refinance program.  During these meetings, TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero and Loan Processing Marketing Specialist Blyth Rehberg reinforced how this loan program has helped many Texas small business owners survive the recession and how passage would help more owners invest in their businesses, thus accelerating the nation’s economic recovery.

Caballero believes this program provides critical help to small business owners as the economy improves. “The 504 Debt Refinance program provides bankers and borrowers a valuable way to restructure existing debt so the business owner can take equity from their building to use for growth or to restructure debt,” she said. “Often the payments are lower than before because of the very low interest rates on 504 loans and its longer, 20-year amortization.”

Many national policymakers (including the SBA) and organizations agree that the program needs to be continued. “While Congress may be divided on many issues, everyone can agree on a zero-cost, smart mechanism like the Commercial Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) Act to help small businesses access capital to create the jobs America needs,” said National Association of Development Companies (NADCO) Chief Executive Officer Beth Solomon. “Extending the SBA’s highly-successful 504 Debt-Refinance program would unleash billions of dollars in capital currently locked up in the assets of our nation’s small businesses. This is a no-brainer for both sides of the aisle.”

Tips for Contacting Your Legislator

Small business owners and bankers are encouraged to contact their U.S. legislators to encourage support for the passage of the CREED Act. You can either contact them in person (via phone or appointment) or by written correspondence (letter or email). To help make it easier for you to do so, TxCDC Loan Processing Marketing Specialist Blyth Rehberg offers some recommendations.

If contacting legislators or their staff in person:

  • Know something about the lawmaker you are visiting. At least know his/her background, party affiliation, home town and whether he/she sits on the Small Business Committee.
  • Remember that all politics are local.
  • Be concise.
  • Know what you are going to ask the legislator to do.
  • Focus on your legislative priorities.
  • Be confident.
  • Discuss at least two examples of successful 504 projects in your representative’s district or senator’s state. Ideally these examples are companies that legislators and their aides may have heard of, and/or projects in areas of the state that are known to be in great need for jobs and economic development.
  • Always follow up with a thank you letter. A template of this type of letter to send to U.S. Senators is provided here while the template for letters to U.S. Representative is listed here.
  • Never threaten or berate a member of Congress or their staff.
  • Don’t forget why you are there. Do not go on and on.
  • Don’t ignore questions they ask. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make up an answer. Just tell the lawmaker that you don’t know and that you will get back to him/her promptly.
  • Don’t be impatient.
  • Never discuss political contributions in a meeting with a member of Congress.

If contacting legislators through written correspondence: Rehberg also provided examples of letters for lenders and small business owners to use for written interactions with legislators.

For information on reaching your legislator, click here.

Referenced Documents Available for Download:

Texas Certified Development Company Awards Grant to PeopleFund

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Grant supports technology enhancements for PeopleFund client training and education

Gary Lindner, PeopleFund President and CEO and Suzanna Caballero, TxCDC President

Gary Lindner, PeopleFund President and CEO and Suzanna Caballero, TxCDC President

Austin, Texas – Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC), a proven leader in Small Business Administration 504 lending and New Markets Tax Credits allocations, awarded a grant to PeopleFund to create the TxCDC Technology Lab, a designated space designed to assist individuals who are interested in starting or growing a small business. PeopleFund will use these funds to purchase much-needed hardware and software to improve community workshops and business education curriculums. Not only will the TxCDC Technology Lab further the hands-on training offered to PeopleFund clients and the central Texas community, but it will also enable the organization to offer online courses and materials to rural populations across the state.

56 As a veteran of the banking industry, TxCDC’s President Suzanna Caballero understands the importance of helping clients become successful business owners. “PeopleFund embraces the concept of client training and education to help business owners succeed,” she said. “With this $25,000 grant, we are investing in PeopleFund’s ability to better train and support Austin-area businesses.”

“We are so grateful to TxCDC for their support in helping build our clients’ business skills,” Gary Lindner, PeopleFund president and CEO, said. “As a non-profit, we rely on strategic partnerships and support. To have Suzanna and her organization step forward is a tribute to her leadership and vision about what it takes to grow Texas businesses and the economy.”

For more information about TxCDC and loan opportunities, visit: http://txcdc.com. To learn more about PeopleFund loan and business assistance and education, visit: http://peoplefund.org/get-involved/events-calendar/.


Texas Certified Development Company

Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC) grew out of one man’s passion to help business owners realize their dreams, and in the process help create jobs and stimulate the economy. At TxCDC, we’re all about creating jobs. We know one of the greatest challenges faced by small businesses is access to capital. That’s why we make it easy for eligible small business owners to apply for loans to use for fixed assets, such as building acquisition, construction or expansion, land purchases and site improvements, or major machinery or equipment to grow their business. Providing small businesses with capital leads to job creation, business growth and increased tax revenues for the community. For more information, please visit txcdc.com.

55PeopleFund

PeopleFund is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in 1994. It is a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and SBA certified lender. PeopleFund provides business loans up to $250,000 to Texas businesses that do not qualify for bank loans. It also provides client business assistance and education. The target market is minority, women, and veteran business owners and those residing in low- to moderate-income communities. A total of 89% of PeopleFund loans are made within the target market and 51% of loans are to startup businesses with fewer than two years in business, as well as to nonprofit and community organizations with high social impact. Through access to capital and educational opportunities, PeopleFund creates economic opportunity and financial stability for underserved people to build healthy small businesses.

Encouraging Development Across Texas (As Well as Boardwalk and Park Place)

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Martinez Stresses Customer Service, Quality Control at TxCDC
By Dorian Martin

Oscar Martinez has had a lifelong-interest in economic development. His passion for understanding the needs of communities started in South Texas, continued in East Austin and now covers the state of Texas. His business sense continues to be honed today through his work as Texas Certified Development Company’s senior vice president as well as his hobby of playing Monopoly. Through it all, Martinez’s overarching goal has been to help people become successful.

As a boy, Martinez took an interest in the day-to-day activities that he saw around the Corpus Christi neighborhood where he was raised. “When I was young, I was really intrigued by the way the city worked, how all of these different agencies worked together in providing the different services to people,” said Martinez, who learned more about the role of government while serving in his high school student council and as student president of Del Mar College’s Congress.

Martinez left his hometown to attend the University of Texas-Austin, where he earned a bachelor of business degree in accounting in 1974. After graduation, he joined Antioch College Southwest Region as an assistant comptroller and financial aid officer, where he worked with students to help them finance their education.

In 1979 Martinez went to work for the Austin Minority Economic Development Company. This position gave him hands-on experience in helping East Austin small business owners with a variety of issues, ranging from developing an accounting system to improving a building’s façade. “That’s where I got my roots in what I’m doing now,” he said. “I started assisting business owners in developing a business plan and securing funds for their business. That really intrigued me because I love numbers and using my skills with numbers to help business owners is fun.”

In 1985, Martinez became an independent contractor who developed loans in partnership with several entities, including TxCDC. His hard work and good relationships with people got him noticed, which led to an offer in 2005 to join TxCDC to oversee the SBA 504 loan program.

In his new role, Martinez instituted an internal review process that ensures that all potential 504 loans applications go through a quality control screening by TxCDC staff before being submitted to the SBA. The goal is to have the loan submitted to the SBA within 24 hours of completion.. An additional responsibility is assuring that the staff and consultants remain up-to-date with any changes in the SBA loan program.

Because of this quality control program, TxCDC has a high success rate of having its SBA 504 submissions approved by the SBA. “I’d say it’s a 99.9 percent approval rate” Martinez said. Once TxCDC submits a loan, the SBA district office in Sacramento normally responds the 504 loan within 3 days.

His commitment to building relationships among clients, consultants and staff has won Martinez many fans. “I had known Oscar for many years before I started with TxCDC in 2010,” said TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero. “I knew him as the ‘go to’ guy for SBA 504 questions.  And after being with TxCDC for only a few weeks I realized he wasn’t just my ‘go to’ guy but the staff’s and many other bankers, too.  I also realized his strong allegiance to customer service was unwavering.  ‘Whatever it takes to satisfy a customer’ is his mantra.  I’ve learned in my many years of banking that you can train people to do tasks, but good customer service is just something that can’t be taught. It must be in one’s nature. Oscar is a natural at serving his clients and staff.”

In his spare time, Martinez also likes to keep his business instincts sharp by playing Monopoly. “I love Monopoly. It’s hard to find people to play with me because I usually win,” he said, noting that there are many lessons to be learned from this board game.  “Just like in the game of Monopoly, running a small business is risky, yet it can be rewarding if you plan your moves. You’ve got to take some chances, just like in the game, but you’ve got to know how to build that business carefully so that you are successful in winning the game.”

He also uses the lessons of Monopoly in his job. “Here at TxCDC, I love to apply the lessons of Monopoly by helping people achieve the objectives of their business,” Martinez said. “In our program, we help them with their business plan and with as little as 10 percent down, they can get a 504 loan and purchase the building and start creating valuable equity and wealth in their business. Down the line if they want to retire, they can still continue to lease the building and have that as retirement income. It’s something we’re building for other people so that at the end of 20 years, they’ll have something to show for their entrepreneurial efforts.”

What bankers say about Oscar Martinez:

“Oscar is a seasoned professional and a great resource for Horizon Bank.  He has always been responsive and able to answer questions or meet with customers.  Horizon also appreciates his experience is serving loans.   The SBA 504 loan is a partnership loan with the bank.  Oscar helps make a strong partnership!” – Guy Perry, senior vice president, Horizon Bank-Austin

“When it comes to choosing a CDC, I am very picky.  I expect as much from their staff as I do from myself and that means if I call them I expect them to pick up the phone.  I have called many times after 5 p.m. and Oscar or his trusty assistant Aqueda Esparza have been there.  I have even received emails on weekends with updates.  That’s the type of service that truly goes above and beyond the normal and that’s what Oscar delivers.” –Fil Valderrama, senior vice president, First National Bank-Bastrop

“I find Oscar easy to work with, timely in his responses to me and knowledgeable about the 504 process. That’s why I stay in touch with Oscar.” – Luis Vallejo, business services officer, A+ Federal Credit Union

“Oscar is one of the best ‘go to’ guys in the SBA business. Deals today are increasingly complex and require a really thorough understanding of current SBA policies. If Oscar doesn’t have the answer, he get it fast, and, it’s always right.” – Mike Litton, senior vice president for lending, PlainsCapital Bank

“I had known Oscar for many years before I started with TxCDC in 2010.  I knew him as the go to guy for SBA 504 questions.  And after being with TxCDC for only a few weeks I realized he wasn’t just my go to guy but the staffs and many other bankers too.  I also realized his strong allegiance to customer service was unwavering.  Whatever it takes to satisfy a customer is his mantra.  I’ve learned in my many years of banking that you can train people to do tasks but good customer service is just something, which can’t be taught it must be in one’s nature. Oscar is a natural at serving his clients and staff.” –  Suzanna Caballero

TxCDC Helps 1Up Sports Better Meet Needs of Elite Athletes

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Tim Prukop already was thinking about how to build 1Up Sports Performance’s long-term success when he and co-owner Blake Gould opened the doors for business in April 2012. Now thanks to TxCDC’s assistance, this Austin business will reach another important milestone by the end of the year – a custom facility.

1Up Sports Performance, which uses mental, physical and visual techniques to help elite athletes boost their performance, initially began in a leased space and already has numerous success stories. For instance, linebacker Jerrell Freeman hired 1Up Sports Performance to help him improve his speed and explosiveness. After working with Gould, who is a master trainer, Freeman joined the Indianapolis Colts and is now one of the National Football League’s leading tacklers.

Because of these initial successes, the owners felt the timing was right to develop and own a larger state-of-the-art facility so they can triple the number of clients they serve. However, 1Up Sports faced some hurdles in getting loan approval for the new facility from their banker. “Because 1 Up Sports was a start-up and the package was very preliminary, Wells Fargo was not willing to fund the real estate loan without also funding a start-up loan for operations,” explained Kara Pinnelli, a Wells Fargo banker.   That didn’t meet the borrower’s needs.

1up_photo2After hearing Wells Fargo’s decision, Prukop decided to see what other options were open to him to fund the new custom facility, which includes cutting-edge equipment and an outdoor workout area.  “We interviewed several different lending institutions,” Prukop explained. “My father-in-law, who is a banker in Missouri, recommended looking into getting the SBA 504 because there were some favorable rates and some favorable down-payment options. We also wanted to have the option to begin to work with the SBA because the plan is to build a couple more 1Up Sports Performance facilities over the next few years.”

That’s when TxCDC came into the picture. “Tim was easy to work with, he had a well thought-out business plan, experience, was organized and really only needed help putting together the financing package for his permanent location,” said TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero. The total project cost of this loan package was $520,000, which included land, the new building and equipment. As owners of a new business, Prukop and Gould were responsible for 15 percent of the equity to complete the project. Wells Fargo served as the lender by providing 50 percent of the costs while the SBA 504 loan provided 35 percent.

Prukop especially appreciated how TxCDC’s staff streamlined the loan process. “I thought that Texas Certified had everything well organized,” he said. “When I got a chance to sit down with Suzanna, I felt like she understood our business and what we were trying to accomplish, she made up her mind that she was going to help us get this done. So every step of the way – and this is the first time I’ve been through this process – TxCDC had all the information for us, they put all the files together, and they were very conscientious to make sure we had all the information correct. It’s just been really easy to work with them because I felt they had our interests at heart.”

Understanding the time constraints of a new business owner, Caballero and her staff did everything in their power to facilitate the process. “TxCDC worked together Wells Fargo to limit the time Tim was involved on the loan application so he could focus on his start-up in its temporary location,” Caballero explained. “Because he was working with a contractor for his build-to-suit location, Tim did not have to arrange for interim construction funding, which also allowed him to focus on marketing, new client acquisition and working out the kinks of his new business. Tim’s business is up and running and will be a high performance business very soon.”

1up_quoteThe best part of this loan process was that everyone walked away a winner. “It has been a win-win for both the client and Wells Fargo,” Pinnelli said. “Texas Certified helped Tim put his financial package together in a way that showed us his ability to fund both the purchase of his building and cash for operations.  Without their help, I truly believe this loan would have been declined.”

The Wells Fargo banker also has found a partner in helping her better serve her clients. “I have come to realize that if I believe there is an SBA loan opportunity for a business owner, I can send the client to Texas Certified and they will make it happen,” she said.

by Dorian Martin

Fit to Serve

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54TxCDC Named Recipient of 2013 Healthiest Employer Award

Texas Certified Development Company has been named a recipient of Austin Business Journal’s 2013 Healthiest Employer Award. The award, which will be presented March 22 in Austin, TX, recognizes Austin-area business or non-profit entities that demonstrate evidence of an employee wellness program.

“We are very excited to receive this honor,” said TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero. “Our team has been proactive in trying to eat well, exercise and take preventative steps to maintain good health.  This recognition reinforces us in continuing these great behaviors and makes us want to continue the good work.”

The 2013 Healthiest Employer Award focused on six key categories – culture and leadership commitment, foundational components, strategic planning, communications and marketing, programming and interventions, and reporting and analysis. The categories and scoring were developed with the assistance of the academic, medical, wellness and business communities. Applicants are ranked by size based on the number of employees in the organization so that same-sized organizations compete against each other.

TxCDC’s commitment to wellness began informally through founder Paul Tovar’s belief in promoting a healthy lifestyle. Tovar, who initially worked as a licensed pharmacist and eventually became an entrepreneur who owned a pharmacy, health care facilities, insurance companies and business service companies, has maintained his life-long passion of promoting a healthy lifestyle and his vision of creating a community that is healthier in mind, body and spirit.

“As Chairman of the Board of Directors of Texas Certified Development Company starting in the 1980s, I wanted to make sure that the staff of TxCDC stayed healthy and well, just like the patients in my other businesses,” Tovar said.

Since founding TxCDC in 1981, Tovar has made sure the entire staff has had full medical insurance coverage, encouragement to participate in weight loss challenges and access to healthy snack foods (fruit, vegetables and nuts) in the company’s kitchen. This commitment to wellness has expanded and become an integral part of the organization’s culture.

TxCDC staff members are encouraged to regularly support each other’s healthy behaviors, share nutritious recipes and talk about the physical activities that they do regularly, such as hiking, dancing and cycling. The employees — 70 percent of whom are Hispanic — also participate as volunteers at the annual Primero Health Fair, which encourages healthy behaviors in the Latino/Hispanic population through providing screening, training and preventative education on chronic conditions (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) that are known to emerge in this group of people. TxCDC also provides financial support for this health fair.

During the past few years, the company’s leaders have worked to make wellness opportunities even more accessible for the staff. For instance, TxCDC continues its long-time partnership with a nearby church to offer aerobic classes at the church. Approximately 20 percent of TxCDC staff members participate in these classes.

While pleased that some staff members continue to participate, Caballero wanted to identify additional ways for more staff members to be physically active during the workday, especially since many employees work in jobs that require a significant amount of time spent sitting and doing computer work. To reach this goal, she was able to identify the necessary office space, contract with an instructor and provide early release time of one-half hour in order to offer a weekly in-house yoga class that started in 2012. The class boasts 100-percent staff participation. Furthermore, TxCDC employees report that they have seen numerous benefits from participating in the yoga class, including better balance, flexibility and posture as well as stress relief management.

TxCDC also has become more proactive in promoting wellness. As of 2012, the company started paying for employee vision and dental insurance. In addition, employees are given time off in order to get a flu shot. Lastly, Caballero has set a goal of creating ergonomically-correct work areas for each individual employee during 2013.

“These steps are in line with Mr. Tovar’s founding vision,” Caballero said. “We want to actively promote wellness within the organization while encouraging a healthy lifestyle for our East Austin neighbors.”

By Dorian Martin

New Markets Tax Credit Program Update

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This morning President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 which included an extension of the New Markets Tax Credit Program for 2012 and 2013. The tax credit allocation authority is $3.5 billion for each year. The CDFI Fund is currently reviewing applications received under the 2012 round and plans to announce the awards in April. Additional information can be found on the CDFI Fund’s web site at www.cdfifund.gov.

Congress Extends Key Tax Credit Provisions

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Washington, D.C. – Jan. 2, 2013 — The U.S. House of Representatives last night voted 257-167 to approve legislation aimed at avoiding the so-called fiscal cliff that also includes a number of key tax extender provisions. The bill, H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 had been approved by the Senate by a vote of 89-8 earlier in the day.

H.R. 8 extends the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) for two years, providing a maximum annual amount of qualified equity investments of $3.5 billion each year. The bill also extends the 9-percent low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) floor for LIHTC allocations made before Jan. 1, 2014. H.R. 8 also includes one-year extensions of 50-percent bonus depreciation and the wind production tax credit (PTC).