VetFran Committee Chairman Lindenmayer Joins SBA Administrator Mills to Announce Veteran Lending Initiative
SBA and its lending partners are stepping up to fill a void and provide essential financing.
VetFran Committee Chairman Joe Lindenmayer, president and COO of TSS Photography, represented the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program recently announcing the Veteran Pledge Initiative to boost lending. The initiative is a commitment by top U.S. Small Business Administration national, regional and community lenders to collectively increase their lending activity to veterans by 5 percent per year for the next five years.
Lindenmayer and VetFran Committee member Richard Bradshaw, senior vice president of SBA Lending of TD Bank, joined SBA Administrator Karen Mills and representatives of the agency’s lending community, U.S. Army and transitioning service members interested in small-business ownership at Fort Bragg, N.C. VetFran representatives were invited to speak on behalf of existing and prospective veteran franchise owners, as well as franchisors eager to add veterans to their systems.
In his announcement remarks Lindenmayer said: “Today, VetFran boasts a record 579 franchise companies offering financial incentives, training and mentoring to veterans interested in franchise ownership and there are no shortages of veterans interested in franchising, with the VetFran Directory receiving over 44,000 hits a month. Where the equation all too often breaks down is access to credit. The goal of this initiative is to close the lending gap, a problem which is preventing many otherwise worthy veterans from becoming franchisees and leaders in the civilian economy.”
With the support of SBA’s top 20 national lending partners, and approximately 100 additional regional and community lending partners across the United States, the agency expects to assist an additional 2,000 veterans in obtaining loans to start or expand small businesses by increasing lending by $475 million over the next five years. This equals a 5 percent increase above historic veteran lending activity by the SBA.
“Our servicemen and women have made incalculable contributions and sacrifices for our country, and supporting them as they pursue their dreams to start or grow their own business is one of SBA’s highest priorities” said Mills, a consistent VetFran supporter. “Through this partnership with national lending partners and regional and community lenders across the U.S., we stand ready to serve veteran entrepreneurs with loan guarantees, entrepreneurial training, and resources that are critical tools to help them start businesses, drive the local economy and create jobs for themselves and their communities.”
The initiative complements IFA’s access to credit campaign, including Small Business Lending Summits in 2011 and 2012. Bradshaw said franchises are an especially popular choice for veterans and that most of the franchise loans TD Bank expects to make as part of the initiative will be under $150,000. Veterans have a proven track record in franchising, with one in seven U.S. franchise businesses being veteran-owned.
“As a franchisor, chairman of the VetFran Committee, and most of all, as a proud Marine veteran, I commend the SBA and its lending partners for stepping in to fill this void and provide essential financing,” said Lindenmayer.
Learn more about IFA’s veterans program at www.vetfran.com.
Josh Merin is senior manager of research and strategic initiatives for the International Franchise Association. Find him at fransocial.franchise.org via the directory.