Economic Development Mandates Drive State’s Nonprofit Lenders

By Russ Cummins, Executive Director and Investment Advisor, New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation

Economic development is what motivates New Mexico’s nonprofit lenders: The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST. All three organizations promote grassroots economic development by lending money to businesses that need cash to get started or to expand.

Designated by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as certified community development organizations (CDFIs), they support economically disadvantaged communities and provide loans to small businesses that lack access to traditional funding. Funding for these loans is provided by the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (NMSBIC). The Legislature created NMSBIC 15 years ago to generate new job opportunities and support new or expanding businesses in New Mexico.

The NMSBIC lending program also provides funding to the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority for construction loans and to Rio Vista Growth Capital for mezzanine growth funding to enable communities and businesses to grow. Continue reading

Relationship Figures Big in Six-Year Journey to Start Pet-Care Business

Photo courtesy Pet Planet Hotel and Day Camp

Photo courtesy Pet Planet Hotel and Day Camp

By Finance New Mexico

By the time they had adopted seven dogs from friends and neighbors, David and Juliana Garcia concluded that Las Cruces sorely needed a business that served animals and the people who love them.

The couple bought a van with their savings to start a mobile grooming business for large pets. By the time they were ready to buy a second van to accommodate their growing client base, the Garcias were thinking about opening a hotel and day camp, with spa services on the side, for dogs and cats. Continue reading

Woodworking Business Gets Startup Help from Accion

By Metta Smith, Vice President of Lending and Client Services, Accion

Ohel Chillon

Ohel Chillon; photos courtesy Antigua Woodwork

It’s a common conundrum for startups: The business needs money to grow, but it’s too new and untested to qualify for a loan from many traditional lenders.

But, as Regina Baca and Ohel Chillon of Antigua Woodwork discovered three months after starting their business in 2014, Accion is willing to take a chance on fledgling enterprises like theirs. The Albuquerque couple took out a loan in December of that year to purchase equipment critical to their operation. Continue reading

Community Banks Essential to Business Success

Las Trancas Restaurant

By Finance New Mexico

Ramiro Alcala learned the value of community banks in 2013 when he needed a loan to expand the parking lot at his Las Cruces restaurant, Las Trancas, and to add walk-in refrigerators to the kitchen.

Despite his long and successful track record with the business, which he opened with his mother in 1996, Alcala couldn’t find traditional financing until he approached the local office of Century Bank. It wasn’t the only financial institution in town, but it was the only one that would lend Alcala the money to continue the expansion he began in 2010 to meet ever-growing demand. Continue reading

USDA Microloans Aim to Encourage New Crop of Farmers

By Finance New Mexico; photo courtesy

By Finance New Mexico; photo courtesy

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is making it easier for New Mexicans to take up — or continue — farming in a state that’s famous for its chile and other commercial crops but also produces specialty items derived from agricultural products.

Direct Farm Ownership Microloans, which help agricultural entrepreneurs buy and improve farmland and farm buildings and finance other related capital-intensive activities, are especially helpful to beginning and underserved farmers, veterans and those just embarking on a farming career. Continue reading

Loans Help Atrisco Continue Educational, Cultural Mission

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

By Cathy Sorenson, Loan Officer for The Loan Fund

When the Atrisco Heritage Foundation lost a significant annual contribution to its Legacy Fund in the 2008 recession, CEO Peter Sanchez was thankful his foundation had an existing relationship with the state’s oldest and largest nonprofit community lending organization.

“We had started to forge a business relationship with The Loan Fund,” he said, “so they got a chance to know us not in distress but in a building mode.”

That connection was critical when SunCal, a major real-estate developer, defaulted on the loan it secured with Barclays bank to purchase 57,000 acres of land from Atrisco’s earlier incarnation, Continue reading

New Markets Tax Credit Program Benefits Low-Income Communities

By Finance New Mexico

By Finance New Mexico

Business people who want to develop property in economically depressed New Mexico communities — or who want to purchase expensive commercial equipment for use in those communities — often lack the funding they need for such ambitious and capital-intensive ventures.

That’s why the New Mexico Finance Authority created a community development entity, or CDE, in 2006 to raise capital and fill funding gaps for large projects expected to benefit low-income areas.

To be eligible for CDE funding, a project must be in a neighborhood or tract considered low-income in the most recent census. Continue reading

Loan Helps College Student Build Business on Barrel-Racing Bling

Run As One Tack and Equine

By Finance New Mexico

Lyndseyanne Wilken started making custom tack sets to help pay her way through college. Now her small business, Run as One Tack and Equine, is doing so well that she’s starting to think her degree in agricultural sciences will be part of a fallback plan rather than her dominant career path.

The 22-year-old lives in the Doña Ana County community of Salem and attends New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She acquired the skills to create equine finery for rodeo horses in 4-H leatherwork classes and has refined them over more than a decade. Continue reading

Small-Business Lending Bears Fruit Throughout New Mexico

Russell Cummins

By Russell Cummins, Executive Director, New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation

The owners of Montoya Transportation in Silver City, Enchanted Smiles in Belen and Santa Fe Thrive in New Mexico’s capital city run vastly different businesses in separate parts of the state. But each of these entrepreneurs has borrowed money from the pool of capital managed by the New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (NMSBIC) and made available to borrowers through NMSBIC’s network of lenders.

Loans similar to these are among the 473 approved in the fiscal year that ended June 30. Those loans, totaling $8.1 million, supported 1,308 jobs throughout the state.

Since 2004, NMSBIC’s lending partners — including The Loan Fund, Accion and WESST — have delivered funding for 3,524 loans to virtually every community in New Mexico, including areas underserved by traditional lenders. These loans, totaling $56 million, have supported 9,379 jobs. Continue reading

Evolving Business Returns to Accion for Commercial Real-Estate Loan

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

By Justin Hyde, Accion Market Manager

Cathy Schueler approached Accion, a nonprofit lender, in 1996 to secure her first business loan for her nascent business — a microloan of around $3,000 — to buy equipment and supplies for her private psychotherapy practice in Rio Rancho.  At the time, Schueler was a sole proprietor who wanted to build her new business.

By the time Schueler returned in 2015, she was planning to purchase a home for her thriving S corporation, Bosque Mental Health, in central Albuquerque.

“Cathy’s a great example of how a client can grow with us,” said Metta Smith, vice president of lending and client relations. “We’re able to work with a wide range of entrepreneurs — from those needing startup capital to launch, to the well-established business owner hoping to purchase a home for his or her business.” Continue reading