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Vermont-Slauson Economic Development Corporation & Grandpoint Bank: Helping Small Businesses

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Members of our staff recently attended  Vermont-Slauson Economic Development Corporation’s (VSEDC) celebration of 35 years of service to South Los Angeles. VSEDC is one of the many wonderful EDCs we partner with to provide access to capital for small businesses.

In their own words, the primary mission of VSEDC is to “facilitate community development of the South Los Angeles area by providing programs structured to revitalize the physical, economic and social life of the community. In order to realize this objective, VSEDC has developed and implemented a comprehensive approach to community economic development that includes business development, technical assistance and training, residential housing, commercial and industrial development.”

Over those 35 years, the VSEDC has provided assistance to more than 500 businesses.

So, how can they help your business? One of their most popular services – and yes, it’s free – is helping craft business plans. Whether you want to map out a new business or need to present a business plan to a loan officer, the talented staff and volunteers at VSEDC can help guide you through the process.

They’re also brilliant at identifying and directing business owners toward the resources they need. We’re proud to say that one of those resources sometimes includes Grandpoint Bank. VSEDC was happy to learn about our enthusiasm for lending to small businesses, particularly ones in disadvantaged areas of the communities we serve. Through our Small Business Loan program, we can fund three- or five-year term loans or a business revolving line of credit ranging from $5,000 to $75,000.

We recognize that small businesses are the lifeblood of our local economies and often define the character of our communities. Sometimes, a relatively small loan can make the difference between those companies thriving or struggling. We love to grow with our clients and be part of the process of an entrepreneur creating something great. Today’s small business could easily become a major employer for its community, and if we can support those businesses, we love our jobs even more.

It may surprise you to learn that our Small Business Loans can be turned around within two weeks from the time we receive all the information we need from the business owner. After those two weeks (or less), if approved, our customer can leave with a cashier’s check in hand.

Not everyone who visits VSEDC needs a loan, of course. Another popular service the organization provides is assistance with business taxes. Chances are that free help with your company’s taxes will sound terrific — unless you’re running an accounting business.

Does the word Twitter send your heart aflutter? VSEDC offers (again, free!) help to strategize, develop and populate a social media program that’s right for your business. They also offer an entrepreneurial training program, training about how to have a green business, information about tax incentives and credits and so much more.

We very much value our relationship with the fine folks at VSEDC and all of the wonderful small businesses we get to serve. Whether it’s VSEDC or another Los Angeles BusinessSource Center, we encourage small business owners to take advantage of the remarkable resources available through these organizations.

To find out more about Grandpoint Bank’s Small Business Loan Program, contact Darlene Esquerra, Community Development Officer, at 213.542.2703 or



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Roller Coaster Enthusiast Jeff Hildebrandt Smooths the Ride for SBA and USDA Loan Applicants

Hildebrandt JeffWe’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.