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LVEDC Announces Partnership with Lehigh Valley Banks to Support Economic Growth

By Colin McEvoy on December 15, 2015

LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham spoke during a news conference today about the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.

LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham spoke during a news conference today about the Lehigh Valley Lending Network.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has announced the creation of a new partnership with area banks to provide access to a range of financing options to support economic growth.

With economic growth on the rise in the Lehigh Valley, LVEDC has worked with 13 local banks to establish a Lehigh Valley Lending Network to be administered by the regional economic development organization, which already administers all of the region’s public financing programs for Lehigh and Northampton counties.

The Lending Network will offer a single point of entry to both private and public financing, allowing businesses that are seeking financing to simultaneously access and shop commercial lending institutions and economic development resource providers.

“We believe that this lending network which allows new customers to shop for capital resources in one spot, is very unique in the economic development world and will serve as a best practice for the entire country,” said LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham. “Most regions aren’t fortunate enough to having competing banks working in this unique way to support regional economic growth. This is made possible because of the commitment our banks and the strength of a regional economic development effort led by LVEDC.

Representatives from each of the 13 participating banks attended the formal Lehigh Valley Lending Network kickoff ceremony on December 15 at the Renaissance Allentown Hotel. The participants include Bank of America, BB&T Bank, Conestoga Bank, Embassy Bank, Lafayette Ambassador Bank, M&T Bank, National Penn Bank, New Tripoli Bank, PNC Bank, Peoples Security Bank, Provident Bank, TD Bank, and Wells Fargo.

“Not only is the Lending Network good for customers and economic growth in the region but it gives the participating banks an opportunity to compete for business that they otherwise may not be aware of,” said Stephen Kalamar, chair of LVEDC’s board of directors and vice president of commercial lending at TD Bank, which is a participating bank in the Network.

The Network will streamline the process for Lehigh Valley businesses seeking to establish new bank relationships and allow them to determine the lowest cost options to finance their project. Through the Network, they can canvass incentive financing and traditional bank loan products through one inquiry simultaneously.

“The fact is many companies find the process of trying to find the right bank for their needs exhausting and layered in redundancy,” said John Kingsley, LVEDC Vice President of Finance. “Add to that trying to understand the myriad of financing programs that are available to assist businesses with lower costs of capital and it can be downright daunting. We want to help companies find the right financing quickly.”

The program is simple: An eligible borrower completes a series of forms outlining their business and provides a financial profile outlining their operating history and financing needs. This information is circulated to banks and economic development lenders based on the preferences of the borrower.

Representatives of the selected lending organizations will then provide an expression of interest in working with the borrower that will outline the likely terms of a loan that could be offered if the company meets specific eligibility and credit criteria.

Some companies have already benefited from the Lehigh Valley Lending Network. Windkits, an Upper Macungie Township-based company that creates structural core kits for blades used in wind power turbines, obtained tailored financing from a commercial lender through its participation with the Network.

Through the Lending Network, LVEDC helped Windkits disseminate information about the company and their specific financing needs to a targeted series of lenders, ultimately connecting them with Bank of America. This will ultimately allowed Windkits to acquire machinery and equipment, to expand their product line, and to access international credit facilities.

To be eligible for the Lending Network, a company must have a profitable operating history during at least two of the past three years, and must be locating or expanding their business within the Lehigh Valley. To access the banks in the Network, the company cannot have an existing lending relationship with a Lehigh Valley bank, or must be unable to obtain the lending services or products they require through their existing relationship.

The Lehigh Valley Lending Network comes in addition to the role LVEDC has already long played in providing the region’s businesses access to low-interest, fixed-rate financing programs that are administered by the organization.

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