Business owners and entrepreneurs who are military veterans are making important contributions to business creation and economic growth in the U.S., and U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) lending increasingly is playing a role in that success.
The need is great. According to the Small Business Administration, there are more than 21 million veterans in the U.S. and more than 2.5 million veteran business owners whose companies make up 9 percent of all U.S. businesses.
Meet one of them: veteran and business owner Thomas Feiter. This year, his business, The Fighter Law Firm, received an SBA 7(a) loan through Wells Fargo. He’d been renting space for years, and the SBA loan allowed him to buy and improve an existing office building. A new parking lot and sign were among the upgrades.
“While I was deployed in the Middle East as part of my military duties, I dreamed of returning home and owning a place for my business,” Thomas says. “Working with Wells Fargo helped me realize that dream and also gave me the opportunity to complete additional improvements, which has yielded greater revenues.”
As we celebrate National Veterans Small Business Week, Veterans Day, and Military Family Month in November, Thomas’ story reminds us why helping veterans launch and grow businesses is so important.
Business owners securing SBA loans are finding opportunities in today’s gradually improving economy and favorable interest-rate environment. It’s inspiring to work with these entrepreneurs who are building, growing, and strengthening their businesses in our communities – from purchasing their own land and buildings instead of leasing or renting, to using SBA financing to buy businesses.
As America’s leading small business lender, Wells Fargo is dedicated to supporting veteran entrepreneurs through a broad range of products, resources, and guidance. We consider SBA lending one important way military veterans can get the financing they need to build their businesses and achieve their dreams.
SBA lending offers an alternative to those who may not be able to obtain conventional bank financing. For example, if a business owner has limited liquidity for a down payment, a shortfall in collateral to secure a loan, or a more highly leveraged balance sheet, an SBA loan may be the appropriate alternative.
But lenders also have to follow through and make the loans, and we’re doing that. This year, Wells Fargo was ranked the top SBA 7(a) lender – both in terms of loans and total loan dollars extended to small business owners.
According to U.S. Small Business Administration data, Wells Fargo approved 7,254 SBA 7(a) loans totaling more than $1.9 billion nationwide during the 2015 federal fiscal year (which ran from October 2014 to September 2015). That’s the first time Wells Fargo has made the most loans and loaned the most money overall on an annual basis.
As an SBA preferred lender in all 50 states, we want to give even more businesses the kind of opportunities Fighter Law Firm realized.
If you’re preparing to finance your first entrepreneurial venture, or thinking about growing your business, consider SBA lending. It could be the best option for your business. Talk to your banker about all of your financing options.
To learn more about SBA lending, including applying for an SBA loan, visit the Wells Fargo Works for Small Business℠ website.
A veteran of Wells Fargo and SBA lending, Serres leads Wells Fargo’s SBA Lending team. She is dedicated to building customer-focused teams and partnering across Wells Fargo to serve and develop long-term relationships with small business owners and entrepreneurs.