Lehigh Valley Lending Network Links Banks with Small Businesses Seeking Loans
By Colin McEvoy on August 9, 2017
Now, the Allentown screen-printing equipment manufacturer is set to move this fall to a new building along Bethlehem’s busy Route 412 corridor.
“I would be lost without John [Kingsley] and the lending network,” Vasilantone said. “He was completely invaluable, and because of [the network] it was my least amount of headache during the lending process.”
Vasilantone, who has 35 employees, said that the network simplified the task of acquiring a small-business loan to build a manufacturing facility. The equipment maker said in total he is borrowing $3.3 million for his project. The Lehigh Valley Lending Network and network official Kingsley helped him obtain state grants through Northampton County and funding from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
Kingsley is the Vice President of Finance for the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), which administers the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.
Vasilantone used his bank, Bank of America, for a portion of the funding. Bank of America is part of the lending network.
The lending network concept spawned from brainstorm sessions in 2010 between LVEDC and Alan Jennings, executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley Inc.
It was the Great Recession, and banks were not necessarily providing for their commercial clients’ financial needs.
Today, the network is a partnership between LVEDC and 17 banks throughout the Valley. The network’s mission is to assist businesses with their financing needs, helping them to find the bank that fits their situation.
The program has helped dozens of businesses since its creation find financing, said Kingsley, vice president of finance for LVEDC and the primary contact for the network.
“All of the businesses we have assisted through the lending network would meet one SBA [Small Business Administration] definition or another as a small business. But many have 50 or more employees, some as high 200 plus,” he said.
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