Meadows Bank, Friend To The Small Entrepreneur, Opens First Arizona Location

Entrepreneurs / 29th March 2016

In the wake of the financial crisis, many lending institutions raised the bar impossibly high for small-business owners with big dreams but limited collateral. However, where some see risk, Meadows Bank sees opportunity. Its approach to lending, and looking beyond formulas to the true potential of a new business, has made Meadows Bank the largest community bank, Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the U.S.

This is great news for Arizona entrepreneurs as Meadows Bank opened its first Phoenix branch this January located at 2141 East Camelback Road, Suite 100.  

In fact, Meadows Bank itself is a small-business success story, which sets the tone of every deal that regional president, David Matthews, makes with his clients. Established in Las Vegas in 2008, Meadows grew quickly from $34 million in loans in 2008 to $466 million in 2015, with a lending capacity of $15 million per borrower. This is significant compared to other community banks, whose ceiling on loans is typically $3 million to $5 million per borrower.

Meadows has had an SBA loan production office in Phoenix for five years, but the Camelback branch is its first storefront, full-service location offering deposit and conventional loan products in addition to SBA loan programs. Meadows’ vision is exemplified by the following success stories:

  • Joseph and Suzan Hughes, who dreamed of a day care facility called Smiles for Special Needs for intellectually disabled adults where they would learn about urban farming;
  • Tim Kelley, who dreamed of a chain of Spanish-immersion preschools called Little Big Minds to give toddlers across the city access to early bilingual education.

The Meadows team in Phoenix has built a devoted following by working as a true business partner, providing quick responses, guiding their clients through the application process, and staying involved for those crucial early start-up months when a trusted adviser is critical.

According to Meadows Bank president and CEO, Arvind Menon, this approach springs from the board of directors’ personal experiences as small-business entrepreneurs.

“We think creatively in looking at deals and see market potential that another institution might overlook,” said Menon. “Joseph Hughes is a perfect example of this. His son is intellectually disabled, so he already had a vision of what a truly unique adult day care experience should look like—something that enables them to work the land and learn a skill. Joseph was renting a former doctor’s office, which was an ideal location on two acres of land.”

When Joseph and Suzan Hughes came to Meadows Bank, they had been in the building for two years, had made renovations to accommodate their clients’ needs, and were already seeing growth. That was when the building’s owner, an investment company, took advantage of the situation and threatened to sell.

“We had so much invested in that property so we had to try and buy it,” said Joseph Hughes. “We needed a bank that would understand our long-term potential and that we didn’t have much collateral.”

“We heard about Meadows Bank through word of mouth,” explains Hughes. “The first time we talked to their representative, I knew that we had come to the right place. Being able to buy the property at that time really saved our dream.”

This was also the experience of Tim Kelley at Little Big Minds. With the support of Meadows Bank, Kelley has just opened his third location, capitalizing on the trend toward bilingual English to Spanish education.

“Meadows has been a champion for us,” said Kelley. “We started with our first location, which was leased from the school district, and within a year, we had a waiting list. I bank at one of the other major banks in town but they weren’t able to respond quickly and efficiently to our desire to grow. Meadows understood the enormous growth potential of the Spanish immersion trend. They also make life easier because their processes are different and they’re not formulaic like the big banks. Working with Meadows, I could see us expanding statewide in the next few years.”

“We are hands on so we get to know what our clients vision of success looks like,” said Matthews. “We maintain consistent staff over the years so clients are always dealing with the same person, someone who has the ability to make decisions on the spot.”

Arizona has been a goal for Meadows Bank since the bank was first established in Nevada. With owners who live and work in the southwest, the Meadows team understands the Southwestern business climate, regulations and political trade winds.

“We’re really not a retail bank,” said Menon. “Our target is business customers who need a go-to source that wants to grow from $2 million today to $15 million in three years. Because of our lending capacity, we’re able to make this kind of difference in a business owner’s short term plan, and have a huge impact on the Phoenix economy.”

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