Spokane Journal of Business

Out-of-town SBA lender enters Spokane

Commerce Loan Co. offers commercial real estate loans to small-business owners

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Commerce Loan Co., a division of San Diego-based Bank of Commerce, has opened a loan-production office in the Spokane Valley.

The office, at 2510 N. Pines, is the 23rd location for Commerce Loan, which has received a preferred lender designation that allows it to process and approve loans on behalf of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The company plans to open as many as 10 SBA lending offices across the U.S. this year, says Brian Butler, its vice president of marketing communications.

The two-person office here, which opened two weeks ago, arranges loans to finance the purchase of commercial property, refinances loans on commercial property, and finances construction of commercial buildings, Butler says. He says small-business owners can borrow from Commerce Loan sums of up to $3 million, for terms of up to 25 years. The company also provides up to 90 percent financing of the value of a property.

Butler says that when Commerce Loan is considering opening an office in an area, it looks for a market in which small businesses seem to be expanding and theres commercial real estate available.

Steve Mattern, a Sacramento-based Bank of Commerce senior vice president and regional salesman, says the publicly traded company has been looking to open an office in the Spokane area for the past two to three years. He says its Commerce Loan unit decided to move ahead with an office here now because the added location will help to complete the companys expansion plans for Washington and Idaho.

The company opened a loan office in Seattle about two years ago and just recently opened an office in Boise, Idaho. Mattern says the Spokane office will help fill gaps by serving customers in Eastern Washington and North Idaho that the Seattle and Boise offices dont cover.

Commerce Loan has hired Debbie Lawton, of Hayden, as the business-development officer in the Spokane office. She formerly had worked as a small-business accounts manager for the North Idaho region of Washington Trust Bank.

Commerce Loan pledges to notify potential borrowers within five days after they have completed loan packages whether their loans have been approved. If the loans are approved, Commerce Loan guarantees that funds will be provided within 30 days.

In addition to its 23 loan-production offices, the 23-year-old Bank of Commerce also operates 10 full-service branches in Southern California and has assets of about $640 million. In 1998, Bank of Commerce provided a record $243 million in guaranteed small-business loans. Because Bank of Commerce doesnt operate as a bank outside of California, all but one of its loan offices located outside the state operate under Commerce Loan Co.

  • Lisa Harrell

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