For years, REGIONAL Federal Credit Union has acted as a local, personalized financial management resource to residents of Northwest Indiana. True to form, the credit union hosted a free lunch seminar at their Hammond branch centered on business lending, and allowed for plenty of questions and answers on the topic.
Clint Turpen, Marketing Specialist for REGIONAL Federal Credit Union, said that one of the primary purposes of the seminar was to provide helpful advice to community members. The seminar was also a way to broadcast the credit union’s fresh status as a business lender.
“We’re here to put another foothold in the community,” Turpen said. “We want to get the word out that we’re ready to lend to businesses. It’s still a relatively new thing that we do, and we want business owners to know they have that option here.”
Amal Patel, Senior Member Business Lending Officer at REGIONAL Federal Credit Union, led the seminar. Patel signed on to the team this past March and was looking to help grow the business lending department. As a lending officer with credit training and a wealth of experience, Patel was knowledgeable and straightforward in his presentation.
“I’m the person on the ground helping people,” Patel said. “Everything goes through me, and I can help you with all of your questions and concerns.”
Patel explained one of the advantages of seeking a loan from REGIONAL Federal Credit Union is the personal attention of the staff. Rather than communicating with person after person to arrange a meeting, Patel directly handles the bulk of the negotiations before they are escalated to a committee.
“You can come right to my office and see me,” Patel said.
Another advantage is the convenience and immediacy of onsite application, appraisal, and underwriting.
“We now have the ability to do commercial documents in-house, which is one of the nice things we offer here,” Patel said. “That shortens the process quite a bit. There’s no third party— we get everything done right here.”
Attendees received packets that spelled out every step of applying for a business loan at REGIONAL Federal Credit Union and were able to follow along with Patel’s presentation. In between scribbling notes in the margins, those in attendance asked questions about start-up business lending versus existing business lending, credit lines, and general rate structure. Patel’s main point was that each loan varies with each individual or business.
“I’m very honest with all of my customers,” Patel said. “I let them know upfront whether or not I’ll be able to help them out.”
Bill Gregory, Business Advisor for Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center, was hoping to take some information back to a client who is a member of REGIONAL Federal Credit Union.
“This is actually perfect timing,” Gregory said. “My client owns a furniture store in Griffith, and he’s doing well. He’s looking to open another property somewhere in the Region. I’m helping him write a business plan and do some projections.”
Patel and Gregory talked at length about possibilities for the client. When the topic turned toward new business ventures, Patel was direct. Since his family owns several hotels, he is able to bring personal experience to his role.
“A lot of people think that owning a business is the dream—the reality is that it’s the hardest thing in the world,” Patel said. “I like to share my experiences with customers so that they know what they are getting into.”
For those that do follow the dream, however tough the road, it’s important to choose a lender that one can trust. REGIONAL Federal Credit Union is a lender with a stake in the community, offering competitive rates and locally informed decisions. The road becomes a little smoother.
For more information about REGIONAL Federal Credit Union, please visit www.regionalfcu.org.