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Q&A with Seedcopa

FAQs & Top 3 Tips for Businesses

By Sherwood Robbins

Here at Seedcopa, it’s our job to explain what other businesses do. Those stories are what go into loan applications, and getting them right can be the difference between a dream come true, or one that unfortunately dies on the vine.

So when a couple of news reporters recently asked us to explain ourselves “in a sentence or two,” it admittedly took a little more space than that.  Here are some key points we provided to them, which might be helpful to you too.

What does Seedcopa do?

If a bank wants to offer a small business owner the valuable long-term, fixed-rate financing unique to the federal government’s SBA 504 loans, the bank must partner with what’s called an SBA Certified Development Company (CDC). Seedcopa is one of those CDCs and as a government loan specialist, it is our job to walk business owners through the loan process, step-by-step, to help both the borrower and the bank close the loan as quickly as possible. We also have specialized knowledge of the federal government’s entire suite of affordable business loans, and if there’s another loan that’s a better fit for a small business owner, we make sure we introduce them to it.

What are your most popular SBA-related services that you offer to small businesses?

SBA 504, SBA 504 and yes, SBA 504. It’s an incredible benefit for growing businesses to be able to pay less cash out of pocket with the confidence of a 10, 20 or 25-year fixed interest rate. They can use that money to purchase land or commercial real estate, renovate properties or build from the ground up. When we introduce it to businesses, it’s a no brainer. The challenge is navigating the loan process, and that’s what Seedcopa is there for. You don’t have to be an expert, because we are.

What do you feel are the most under-used services that you and the SBA offer?

As popular as SBA loans are, once business owners know about them, the program is historically underused. Of all of the SBA loans authorized in 2018, less than 5 percent were SBA 504 loans. Many businesses just don’t know about the SBA 504 loan, but many are learning during COVID-19 as they explore programs to assist them through the pandemic.

What 3 tips would you give to a small business?

  1. Call us sooner rather than later. Many businesses think they need all of their ducks in a row before reaching out. Of course, we ask that you have your financial package ready (business and personal tax returns, personal financial statements, and the ability to summarize what you are looking to do). The sooner you contact us, the more quickly we can discuss a timeline and get your project moving.
  2. Whether you choose Seedcopa or another loan partner, make sure you choose an organization that is committed to open dialog. You need to have any questions or concerns discussed immediately, at the very beginning of the loan process, so you can get to closing as successfully as possible. Seedcopa prides itself on open dialog with the ultimate goal of getting loans approved.
  3. The government loan process is what you make it. If you’re committed to it, the process can move similarly to the conventional commercial loan process with more attractive fixed interest rates and less cash out of pocket.
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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