If you’re looking to lend money to small businesses, start by finding a leader who knows both banking and entrepreneurship.
That’s what the Columbus office of the U.S. Small Business Administration did when it hired new District Director Martin Golden. Golden, who started in June,pent the first few weeks acquainting himself with government and financial leaders as well as the business owners the SBA serves.
Golden previously was Wells Fargo Foothill’s managing director of healthcare finance and senior vice president of GE Healthcare Financial Services. The former U.S. Navy intelligence officer is also an entrepreneur, having developed the startup Marquette Healthcare Finance in 2007.
Golden, who replaced the retired Thomas Mueller, expects his 20 years of experience will inform his work. Te reception from local banks, including Huntington National Bank and JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been “very good” he says. “I understand their concerns. I think maybe most importantly, I understand what their perspective is, what they need out of the relationship, so to speak.”
A continuing challenge will be involving lenders not yet among the 140 banks the SBA program, says Golden. Golden has already met with Republican U.S. RepBill Johnson in Marietta and says he’ll make it apriority to learn about the concerns of rural and suburban small business owners.
Outreach will be among Golden’s top priorities for theoffice, which serves 60 counties.His staff will take county tours and meet with chambers of commerce.“My mandate really is to make sure that everybody’s hearing about us,” says Golden.