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Seedcopa’s 2020 Year in Review & Outlook for 2021

By Sherwood Robbins

It has been an extraordinary year for small- to mid-sized businesses when it comes to financing through partially government-guaranteed loans. SBA 504 loan volume soared to the highest in its 34-year history, as interest rates continued to dip to record lows. We saw this trend nationally, but also locally, as Seedcopa worked with new (and more) bank partners than we were one year ago on SBA 504 loans.

While the low interest rates were no doubt a factor, it’s the structure of the SBA 504 loan that seems to be especially appealing to more business owners right now. Coupling less money out of pocket with long-term, fixed interests rates provides the borrower with confidence of stable loan payments for years to come. In addition, by keeping valuable capital within the business, owners can use that money to do what they do best – grow their businesses. This is essential to small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis and moving forward. It was also essential at the beginning of the crisis, when businesses that had SBA 504 loans were able to skip payments for 6 months via CARES Act subsidy payments.

What needs to happen to turn 2021 around? As a director of the National Association of Development Companies, where I represent Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and DC, I see the potential for growth and success twofold. First, we have been able to work with a number of businesses that pivoted within their business models. Many owners who were able to develop a new vertical line of business, or transition their products/services, have actually had a rather successful 2020.  Second – is to stabilize COVID-19 and the economy that has developed as a result of it, so our nation can get back to either “normal” or the “new normal.” This concept may sound obvious, but clearly we’re not there yet.  

The entire Seedcopa team respects how important small business is to our country. We are ready to continue to serve those small businesses with the financing they need and look forward to a happy, healthy and yes, prosperous New Year.

Sherwood Robbins

Sherwood Robbins, Managing Director of Seedcopa + SeedcoDE, has been with the organization since 2007 and is proud to help business owners turn their dreams into reality. Prior to joining Seedcopa + SeedcoDE, he spent more than 14 years in the banking industry, specializing in commercial banking, retail and investment services. For most of that time, he served as a dedicated government loan lender. Sherwood is Region 3 Director for the National Association of Development Companies (NADCO), representing five states and the District of Columbia. He serves as a board member/community representative of Community Lenders, a non-profit community development corporation that finances housing and commercial development projects benefitting low- and moderate-income persons throughout Southeastern PA and surrounding areas. Sherwood testified before Congress in 2017, highlighting the SBA 504 loan program to members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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