Baltimore, Maryland (PRESS RELEASE – December 18, 2010) – In a continuing effort to help unlock credit for the more than 112,000 small businesses in Maryland, the Department of Business and Economic Development announced that more than 130 Maryland lenders representing 56 banks were trained through Credit Connections workshops held statewide from September to November. The 11 workshops, which were held in partnership with Maryland Bankers Association, U.S. Small Business Administration, Department of Housing and Community Development, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Risk Management Association, provided specialized training for commercial lenders on what state and federal financing programs exist and how local lenders can use those programs to help small businesses access loans, lines of credit and other financing.
“The success of Credit Connections demonstrates what can be achieved when you bring together State and federal government, the banking community and industry partner organizations focused on the common goal of unlocking credit for small businesses,” said DBED Secretary Christian S. Johansson. “I want to thank all of our presenters who traveled around the State to educate our lenders on the many programs and financing tools that exist to help make deals bankable.”
“Having attended two of the Credit Connections sessions, it is clear that DBED is serious about being a catalyst to stimulate business development in Maryland with a broad array of credit enhancements for commercial lenders,” said William E. Jenne, Vice President of First United Bank & Trust in Frederick. “DBED is committed to rolling up their sleeves and helping us construct creative solutions as we navigate through a difficult economic environment in the early stages of recovery and consider specific requests for commercial financing that may have some weaknesses.”
“Credit Connections is a classic example of how the public and private sectors can work together to bring much needed capital to small businesses in spite of the challenging credit environment we are operating in,” said Darius L. Davis, Chief Operating Officer of The Harbor Bank of Maryland.
“The Maryland Bankers Association was pleased to work in concert with DBED and others to inform our members of the many small business lending programs available through the State and U.S. Small Business Administration,” said Kathleen M. Murphy, President of the Maryland Bankers Association. “Banks are in the business of lending; Credit Connections is a great example of how, working together, we can support Maryland’s continued economic recovery.”
The workshops, which were held on the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, Southern Maryland, Central Maryland and the Capital Region, featured banking industry experts and State and federal financing representatives who provided the latest information about programs designed to assist small businesses access credit.
Credit Connections is the latest effort by the State to provide Maryland’s small businesses with a lifeline to credit. Earlier this year, Governor Martin O’Malley rallied the bi-partisan support of 28 Governors to put forth a request to President Obama to help close the credit gap for small businesses, which helped establish the $1.5 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), part of the Small Business Jobs Act passed in September. The SSBCI expands the capacity of small business loan guarantee programs that 34 states and U.S. territories have currently. Governor O’Malley based his proposal on Maryland’s Small Business Credit Recovery Program, a version of the State’s MIDFA loan guarantee program which was launched in 2009 to connect small businesses with lenders. The O’Malley-Brown Administration also worked with U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner and his team to craft the federal legislation and Secretary Johansson testified before the House Financial Services Committee earlier this year to make the case for the potential of loan guaranty programs like MIDFA and help move the Small Business Jobs Act forward. Working with a number of local banks, including The Harbor Bank of Maryland, M & T Bank and others, the Maryland Small Business Credit Recovery Program has already been able to settle or approve more than $9 million in loans for a number of Maryland’s small businesses.
The Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s mission is to attract new businesses, stimulate private investment and create jobs, encourage the expansion and retention of existing companies and provide businesses in Maryland with workforce training and financial assistance. The department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development, international trade and tourism. As a major economic generator, the department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events.