We’re pleased to announce that Jeff Hildebrandt has joined our Government Guaranteed Lending Department as Vice President and SBA/USDA Business Development Officer.
He is responsible for originating and developing Small Business Administration (SBA) 7a and 504 loans and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loans for real estate transactions, commercial debt refinance, business purchases, working capital and franchises.
“Jeff has spent the last 10 years specializing in government guaranteed loans and even teaches SBA financing courses for banking and real estate professionals,” said Leticia Scearce, Senior Vice President and Government Guaranteed Lending Manager. “When we pledge to our clients to exceed their expectations, it’s because we have a high standard for the caliber of professionals we bring onto our team, and Jeff is a great example.”
Jeff most recently served as Vice President at Umpqua Bank in Los Angeles, where he was responsible for SBA business development. He is a member of Toastmasters International, Rotary International and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce (where he often conducts educational classes about government guaranteed financing).
“Government guaranteed loans are a great option, offering lower payments and longer terms than conventional loans,” says Jeff. “Many banks pursue large loans rather than focusing on the small business owner. Grandpoint really supports my efforts to help small and mid-sized businesses secure these loans – most businesses with net income under $5 million of net income can apply.”
Many people assume that securing a government guaranteed loan is an onerous process. “We make it easy,” Jeff says. “The application is simple – we need some basic facts and figures and financial information.”
Our government guaranteed lending department handles the rest of the process, from letter of intent stage to closing, and typically responds to clients within a few days of receiving enough preliminary information to see if we can finance the request.
“Part of what attracted me to Grandpoint Bank is that it’s a bank catering to business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said. “We are strong supporters of our communities and growing businesses.”
Jeff’s passion for finance has also inspired him to volunteer with Junior Achievement, where he has spent time teaching elementary students about starting and operating a business. With Grandpoint Bank’s well-established support of Junior Achievement, Jeff will find plenty of opportunities to continue his involvement with this great educational organization that focuses on entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.
For fun, Jeff, his wife and two kids head to amusement parks, especially Six Flags Magic Mountain, where they like to let loose about once a month. “I’m a fan of the Full Throttle roller coaster,” Jeff said. “It clears your mind and is a great stress reliever.” The Hildebrandt family also enjoys swimming, tennis and music – especially singing, playing the guitar and piano.
We’re very pleased to add Jeff to our team and to offer our clients deep expertise in government guaranteed lending. We hope you’ll reach out to us if you’re interested in securing a SBA or USDA loan.
The power to affect change is in everyone, and inspiration can come from anywhere. A casual conversation our senior vice president Darlene Esquerra had with her neighborhood UPS driver tipped her off to a continuing education program doing remarkable things. Darlene, who also serves as our institutional banking manager and community development officer, visited the L.A. area school, which is affiliated with John Muir Charter School, and met with the lead teacher at its GEM Academy (GEMA) program.
According to the school’s website, in the GEMA classroom, “Students work on a comprehensive graduation plan that incorporates academics with project-based learning. We offer career awareness, training in computer applications, job readiness, financial literacy, and civic engagement. We have on-site counseling services available and our students are engaged in volunteering and internship opportunities.”
The GEMA program focuses on academics, life skills, volunteer service and work experience through a variety of classes and experiences. The program is designed to include essential skills and practice the students need to make the most of their potential.
Darlene knew Grandpoint Bank could be a tremendous resource to the GEMA students, especially to help expand the financial literacy curriculum. Darlene and the GEMA instructors agreed that Grandpoint would develop a special program to give students (ages 16 to 25) a taste of managing a real-world budget. Our vice president and assistant compliance officer Njuguna Gishuru was eager to help, too.
Darlene and Njuguna created a curriculum that included five events, one for each week of their five-week program. The curriculum included two fairs and three classes. The classes focused on credit and new accounts, bank operations and budgeting.
Darlene and Njuguna recruited 15 volunteers from our bank. At the fairs, each volunteer was assigned to one of 6 tables:
- Registration / Career Choice
- Housing / Furniture
- Entertainment / Vacation / Electronics
- Wheel of Life / Saving & Investing – choose your Checking Account
- Food / Clothing / Transportation
- Credit Counseling
Each student made a career choice, with about 30 to choose from. Some changed their choice once they saw the estimated salary, realizing the glamour of the career they chose wouldn’t sustain them financially. The students were given their monthly salary in play money. Once they started “spending” their money on rent, insurance, transportation, groceries and incidentals at the various fair tables, they learned just how far that monthly salary would have to stretch.
During classes prior to the fair, students were issued fake debit cards that they could use for purchasing at the fair. Each student was given a profile to make the experience more realistic. The profile described their life circumstances, including whether they were married and/or had children.
During the simulation, students would spin a “Wheel of Life.” Whatever unforeseen financial expense or windfall they landed on, they would have to incorporate into their budget and financial decisions. If the students had money left over at the end of the fair, they learned how to open a bank account and save their money.
The five-week simulation program taught students, some of whom had never even been inside a bank, how to manage money more effectively and acquire real-life skills. Darlene and Njuguna received very positive feedback from the students and GEMA instructors. Two of the students landed real-world jobs during the course.
We are honored to be associated with GEM Academy. For more information about how you can help the school and its programs, visit https://www.gemacademyrocks.org/about-us or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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