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February 12, 2020   •   News  

SAFE Credit Union named No. 1 Credit Union Lender by SBA Sacramento District Office

FOLSOM, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2020) – SAFE Credit Union received the No. 1 Credit Union Lender Award for 2019 by the Sacramento District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. SAFE has received the award numerous times since it started serving business members in 2007.

“This award is a true example of how SAFE Credit Union supports local business people as they seek to grow their companies,” says SAFE Senior Vice President of Commercial Lending Ken Getz. “We serve our 6,000-plus business members in a number of ways, including helping them secure the funding necessary for them to expand their space, add inventory or equipment.”

“Each year the U.S. Small Business Administration Sacramento District recognizes the top lenders in various categories in terms of the highest quantity of loans,” says Carrie Ellinwood, lead lender Relations Specialist for the Sacramento District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration. “Out of the credit unions in our district, SAFE did the most loans with the SBA guarantee in FY 2019.”


Ellinwood adds that SAFE fills a crucial lending niche in the Greater Sacramento region. “SAFE typically does the smaller loans that the larger lenders don’t do,” she says. “This is important because there are over 230,000 small businesses in our district and most of them have fewer than 10 employees.”

SAFE Credit Union is often in the top five of all SBA lenders in the Sacramento area and is a Preferred SBA Lender. That designation allows SAFE to expedite the loan approval process for its business members, explains SAFE Business Development Officer Eric Grabin. “Being a preferred SBA lender means we can make the lending decisions in house,” he says.

Because SBA loans are guaranteed by the U.S. government, “it allows us to expand our credit box to take on deals that we may not have been able to do without that guarantee,” Grabin says. “For SAFE, it allows us to share our already membership-based culture with small businesses. It’s in line with our mission to help our small-business members grow.”

As one of SAFE’s CDC partners, SAFE Credit Union works with the California Statewide CDC to connect small businesses to SBA 504 loans that allow entrepreneurs to access low interest loans needed for the purchase of owner-occupied commercial real estate or equipment with as low as a 10 percent down payment. “That 90 percent financing is a huge benefit for small businesses,” says Mark Schwan, Senior Vice President with California Statewide CDC. “It allows a business owner to keep more capital in their business. Having a smaller down payment lets them have more money available to grow their business.”

An SBA 504 loan is a 10-percent down, fixed-rate, long-term loan designed to expand capital access – filling a market gap in long-term financing for America's small businesses. Financing for a typical 504 loan is broken into three parts, with only the 10 percent put down by the borrower. An additional 40 percent is provided by a Certified Development Company (CDC). CDCs are nonprofit corporations that provide loans to encourage small business growth in their local communities and are unique to the 504 Loan program. The remaining 50 percent is provided by a banking partner such as SAFE Credit Union. Typical project sizes range from $300,000 to $20 million.

SAFE Credit Union also recently entered into a Treasury agreement with the city of Sacramento in which the city will deposit funds with SAFE that will be used to support the local economy through loans to businesses and residents. The agreement is part of a 25-year commitment to the city in support of the SAFE Credit Union Convention & Performing Arts District, a completely renovated, state-of-the-art cultural and business events center scheduled to reopen in late 2020.

SAFE Credit Union is one of the few credit unions in the Greater Sacramento area to offer complete banking services to local businesses. SAFE offers lending solutions for commercial real estate, vehicles, and equipment, as well as business savings and checking accounts. Business members can also benefit from a rewards earning Visa® Business credit card, and other banking services such as remote deposit, merchant and payroll services. Learn more about SAFE’s banking services at


About SAFE

SAFE Credit Union has made members an integral part of its vision since 1940. Over the years the credit union has kept the focus on what really matters, putting members first, a formula that has seen SAFE grow into a leading financial institution in Northern California with $3 billion in assets and about 235,000 members. SAFE crafts every cutting-edge product and sterling service with members’ needs foremost in mind. In addition to banking services conveniently available through online, chat, mobile, or phone options, SAFE offers in-person care for members and small businesses at service centers across the Greater Sacramento region and a mortgage lending office serving Contra Costa and Alameda counties. SAFE is a not-for-profit, state-chartered credit union with membership open to businesses and individuals living or working in Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, El Dorado, Sutter, Butte, Nevada, Solano, San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Yuba, Amador, and Alameda counties. Insured by NCUA.

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