This has made funding for growth and expansion more economically feasible than during and immediately after 2020. We believe this can be attributed to adequate pandemic relief coupled with strong results in 2021 for many industries here in North Bay.

Georges Mavridis: From where I’m sitting, there hasn’t been much change or change. The types of companies and people who apply for SBA programs vary – or – are very diverse depending on the sectors and backgrounds. For example, we expected to see volume from restaurants, which have been among the hardest hit industries, but demand has recovered quickly.

Through government assistance programs such as Paycheck Protect Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance (EIDL), small businesses have access to working capital to cover rental costs, pay employees and manage their operations at short term. I’m proud to say that JPMorgan Chase was at the forefront of providing PPP loans to small businesses, funding over 400,000 loans totaling $40 billion.

Some business owners, especially existing businesses, are now focusing on ways to stay open for the long term, including expanding their business model to withstand any future disruption by acquiring new businesses.

Bob Thompson: Not really, although there are always ebbs and flows in lending to specific industries. Entrepreneurs have always been and will be risk takers looking for opportunities, whether in good times or bad.

Ole Tustin: During the pandemic, companies deemed “essential businesses” have performed well and have in turn requested new funds. Now that most of the other businesses are stabilizing (those that did not retreat), we are seeing a comeback of all types of businesses. Many of these stabilizing businesses are just hitting the 12-month positive cash flow milestone required for many SBA programs.

Overall, there has been an increase in demand, particularly in real estate purchases, but we are also seeing more business acquisitions. I think we see this because rates have been historically low, but also because what many businesses are going through during COVID has caused them to want to control their own future. SBA programs can really help foster that stability and planning for business owners.

Brian Wilken: I think the types of businesses applying for SBA loans have remained relatively consistent – ​​we see a broad network of industries coming to us at Wells Fargo, and that has remained the case for the past two years. Aided by some of the changes made by the SBA, we have seen an increase in refinancing opportunities from seasoned businesses over the past two years as clients seek to take advantage of a record low rate environment.

Now that we see rates rising as the Fed seeks to rein in inflation, refinancing opportunities are stabilizing again, and we plan to continue supporting business owners taking advantage of growth opportunities, including the expansion, ownership of buildings and other types of transactions.

Joseph Bois: We find that larger dollar transactions for SBA products go to more complex and sophisticated businesses that have larger annual revenues. Thus, SBA loans are definitely no longer considered only for small family micro businesses.

Paul Yomans: Yes, I think people started making different choices and one of them looked at his level of job satisfaction and the possibility of working for himself. SBA programs provide this opportunity with business acquisition loans and working capital to support new businesses. There seems to be a greater diversity of SBA customers, which tells me that many people have learned about the benefits of this type of loan with all the news about PPP loans.


Compiled by North Bay Business Journal researcher Michelle Fox.