Press Release

RBFCU Top Small Business Administration
Credit Union Lender in Texas

(Live Oak, Texas) – Under the definition for "determination" there should be another entry added – Heather Waibel Haddad, who didn't give up on her dream to grow her cigar business, Fumèe, the feminine French word for "smoke," even when 18 financial institutions declined to submit her request for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

Perseverance paid off when, on her 19th try, Waibel Haddad was approved for an SBA loan by Kenan Pankau, SBA Loan Officer, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU) Business Services Department.

"Her business plan was sound and her character solid," said Pankau. "We took the time to work through the SBA application process and I was confident that she would be approved for the program," he said

The one-on-one service Waibel Haddad received from Pankau is an example of why RBFCU is once again the top credit union SBA lender in Texas and second in the nation.

"Without the SBA loan, I would not have been able to open my doors as a retail cigar lounge," said Waibel Haddad. "As a small business, I am not eligible for funding with angel investors or venture capitalists, and finding private investors is very hard. An SBA loan with great terms is about as good as it gets for businesses like mine. I used the funds to finance the build-out on the new retail location, purchase inventory and other startup expenses. Fumèe has been open for a few months now, and things are going very well."

"The members who have received SBA loans have become our strongest advocates – like Heather," said Mark Sekula, senior vice president RBFCU Business Services. "Through positive word-of-mouth and selective advertising, we've experienced a 209% increase in volume over 2007," he said.

RBFCU began offering SBA loans to members in December 2006. In the last 24 months, they have lent to more than 281 small businesses for a total of more than $12.8 million, establishing RBFCU as the top credit union SBA Lender in the state of Texas and second in the nation both in terms of total loans and total dollars.

Another example of how RBFCU has helped small business owners is illustrated through RBFCU member, Bill "Clark" Kent, retired Air Force colonel, and now a successful entrepreneur.

"Business was great and I realized I needed to inject more immediate cash flow into my company to keep the momentum going," said Kent. This led Col. Kent to take advantage of the Patriot Express. RBFCU is the fifth largest Patriot Express lender in the nation.

The Patriot Express is a government-sponsored lending program that offers business funds for Veterans, service-disabled Veterans, active duty military participating in the Transition Assistance Program (TAP), Reservists, National Guard and spouses of the previously mentioned. The program was institutionalized to promote SBA financing up to $500,000 exclusively for the military community.

"As our members start new businesses or work to grow their current ones, we have the financial products and the personal service they need to help them succeed," said Sekula.