A Tailor-Made Approach to Loans
by Dorian Martin
Colleen 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.”