By Valerie Green, Senior SBA Loan Administrator, Core Bank.
Banking has changed dramatically since I started my career in the late 1980’s as a teller. Gone are the days when you looked up client balances on the computer printout that you received by courier that morning. My career started in a small town bank in New Jersey. Through the years, as my life changed, so did my goals. There were years when I was content working 9 to 5, in a branch or office and there were times when I pushed myself to learn new skills and seek out more demanding positions.
I have worked for small banks, big banks and even a savings and loan, but the one thing that has not changed is my dedication to doing what is right for the client. Whether I was working as a teller and advising a client on the best type of account for their needs, or I was working in the fraud department searching for the person who scammed a client out of their savings.
STARTING, GROWING OR TRANSITIONING A BUSINESS
None of that is as challenging or rewarding as working with clients to start, grow or transition their business. About 10 years ago I was offered the opportunity to challenge myself and learn government guaranteed lending and I’ve been working within the small business world ever since. Much of my training was done on the job while I worked with clients to complete the (sometimes complex) forms required by government agencies and read the many manuals that detail the ins and outs of the programs offered. I also traveled to trainings provided by the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL) and worked diligently to earn my Fundamental and Advanced Diplomas.
With the never ending changing of the rules and regulations that guide this type of lending, there comes many forms of continuing education which feeds my insatiable need for learning and challenging myself. I have studied the process from beginning to end so that I can understand it fully and overcome the challenges that arise. Every loan request is different because of what the business owner brings to the situation – their experience and vision drive their passion which isn’t always easy to see within a business plan.
GETTING TO KNOW THE OWNER
Getting to know the owner behind the business is essential to understanding what they need to grow and be successful.
I am still focused on doing what is right for the client and sometimes that may mean letting them know that this next big step may not be in their best interest at this time. I am fortunate to work in an area in which I can refer them to resources such as the SCORE mentors at SBA or the Small Business Development Centers across the State that can provide them with guidance on what they can do to better prepare for that step.
When I am not working with others on their business goals, I like to relax and spend time with my husband of 31 years. Together we have three grown children, one if which is married and has started a family of his own with a 3 year old daughter and another soon to come!
DOING BETTER THAN THE DAY BEFORE
As with my work life, I like to challenge myself personally by participating in marathons, triathlons, and cycling events. Although I do not win many awards for my athleticism, it is the personal challenge of doing better than the day before. It’s not at the finish line that growth occurs, but within the race itself.