As a resident of the Dallas-Fort Worth area for almost three decades, Business Bank of Texas Senior Vice President Mariano Hernandez has seen the economic ups and downs in the Metroplex firsthand. He’s watched banks fail during the banking crisis in the late 1980s and small business owners struggle through the latest recession.
However, Hernandez believes the economic tide is turning, which means that many small business owners who weathered the latest economic storm in the late 2000s are now well positioned for growth. “Small businesses have struggled over the past several years and the ones that have prepared, planned through the sluggish economy and executed their plans will survive and hopefully thrive,” Hernandez said. “A large number of these small businesses are now at a stage where they are financially stabilized and are ready for financial assistance to improve and grow.”
Hernandez is ready to help these small business owners succeed. “Principals of these companies need to become more informed and carefully plan out what type of financing will best suit their company,” he said. “Rates and terms offered by banks are at their lowest right now. So long as a company’s performance is proven and meets debt service requirement ratios, banks will be seeking their business.”
The Garland-based banker often works with Texas Certified Development Company (TxCDC) to help his clients gain access to the Small Business Administration 504 loans. “With the assistance of TxCDC, small business owners will have a better chance of getting loan requests approved,” he said. “Conventional financing still requires 15% to 20% down while the 504 SBA only requires 10%.”
A Wealth of Banking Experience
Hernandez’s career in the financial sector has spanned four decades. It began when Hernandez took a part-time job in an Abilene bank in 1974 while attending Hardin-Simmons University. After a conversation with the bank’s human resources director, Hernandez’s desire to get a better understanding of the bank’s operations was fulfilled. “I started in the mail room and assisted as a drive-in teller and a commercial teller before moving to the proof department, bookkeeping, and audit department,” he said.
In 1982, Hernandez had his first commercial lending opportunity while working for a Brownsville bank. “After several years of working in bank operations, I requested to work a loan portfolio,” he said. “The bank president gave me an opportunity to build a loan portfolio while also being in charge of bank operations. The experience was incredible and I truly enjoyed assisting people and companies with their financial needs. It is very rewarding to take part in the growth of local businesses.”
Hernandez has worked as a commercial lender in three banks, including serving as chief lending officer for a Dallas bank. He also has spent 13 years as a bank regulator. It was in that role that Hernandez first came into contact with SBA 504 loans through doing reviews of bank loans.
A Big Fan of SBA 504 Loans
Hernandez’s involvement with SBA 504 loans grew in 2013 when the bank where he was working decided to focus on this type of financing. “The 504 loan is the best loan a bank can offer on an owner-occupied property,” he explained. “Many people are just not familiar with this product and are reluctant to deal with non-conventional methods of financing. Customers need to be informed on 504 loans because it is truly a ‘win-win’ opportunity.”
In less than a year, Hernandez worked with TxCDC’s staff to successfully help small business owners qualify for more than $5 million in SBA 504 loans. These approved SBA 504 loans were used to purchase a large equipment storage facility, the land and construction of a new sports car performance facility and the construction of a new dental facility.
A New Venture – and a Continued Partner in TxCDC
In late 2013, Hernandez joined Business Bank of Texas (BBOT) as a senior vice president serving the Dallas region. “Our bank is very unique in that it is the first paperless bank in the 11th Federal Reserve Bank District,” he said. “BBOT was chartered in 2007 and has performed very well through the ‘Great Recession.’ Our target market is Texas business.” In his new role, Hernandez already is working with TxCDC to help DFW Metroplex small business owners qualify for new SBA 504 loans and prosper.
TxCDC President Suzanna Caballero values having such a knowledgeable and reliable banking partner when working with Metroplex clients. “Mariano’s vast banking experience is impressive. He has seen the banking industry change and has worked hard to deliver excellent service to business owners regardless of the banking or economic environment,” she said. “TxCDC is proud to partner with him in delivering 504 loans to finance owner-occupied real estate for Dallas-area business owners.”
by Dorian Martin