Few individuals can claim to have done more to improve the ability for small and micro businesses in the Santa Ana District to access capital than CDC Small Business Finance’s Senior Community Loan Officer, Stacey Sanchez, which is why this year Sanchez will receive the agency’s 2014 Financial Services Champion of the Year Award.
Sanchez, who lives in Costa Mesa and was nominated for the award by Leila Mozaffari, Director of the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC), has been involved in small business and economic development since she was in high school through a variety private and public sector roles. In 2003, Sanchez joined CDC Small Business Finance, working out of its Orange County office, and served as Executive Director for SoCal Reinvestment CDFI, a for-profit banker’s loan consortium targeted at small businesses who did not qualify for SBA or traditional bank products, from 2005 to 2011. As Executive Director for SoCal Reinvestment CDFI, Sanchez raised over $2 million in investment capital from 16 financial institutions, making 29 loans totaling $2.6 million to small businesses in primarily Low to Moderate Income (LMI) Census tracts, creating over 180 jobs. In 2009, as SoCal Reinvestment CDFI tightened its credit criteria, Sanchez saw an unmet need in Orange County and the Inland Empire and worked with SBA to open this market to CDC Small Business Finance for SBA microloans. Of the 30 microloans made in the Santa Ana District since 2009, 23 were Sanchez’s clients, creating almost 100 jobs.
Sanchez, through her position as Executive Director of SoCal Reinvestment CDFI and Senior Community Loan Officer at CDC Small Business Finance, advocated to encourage the flow of capital to small businesses. From 2005 to 2011, she worked with the cities of Moreno Valley, Riverside, Colton, and Big Bear Lake to make creative use of programs such as Community Development Block Grants and redevelopment funds to develop Small Business Loan Guarantee programs. Targeted at businesses in LMI neighborhoods, it leveraged the cities limited funds in a creative way with SoCal CDFI’s larger lending pool and gave the cities a new approach for reaching out and assisting their business community. Four loans totaling $250,000 were created under this pilot creating 18 jobs. Many of these businesses went on to receive loans through other programs. In 2007, Wells Fargo convened the Orange County Microloan Alliance and commissioned a study to determine the need for smaller loans. As a member of the Alliance, Sanchez took the study results and created an EQ2 based loan fund with investments from Wells Fargo and Comerica to launch a credit builder loan program and a loan program targeted to the multi-cultural business community in partnership with the Orange County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010, when SBA launched the Community Advantage program, a pilot loan program allowing non-bank lenders to make loans with a traditional SBA 7(a) guaranty, CDC was one of the first ten organizations approved nationwide and Sanchez was instrumental in the roll out of Community Advantage loans, helping to get 23 such loans funded since the inception of the program, resulting in the creation of 170 jobs. The program target markets are businesses in LMI Census tracts, new businesses, and businesses owned by veterans.
In addition to extending capital to small business clients, Sanchez joined the Board of the California Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), becoming Board President in January 2013. CAMEO is a 160 statewide member organization of micro-lenders and micro entreprize development organizations. She is also the Vice-Chair of the Santa Ana Workforce Investment Board (OCWIB). In both positions she advocated for small and micro businesses, and in 2010 when OCWIB received funding from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, she encouraged them to fund entrepreneurial development programs, resulting in the issuance of an RFP through which four local small business management providers were awarded funds to provide training programs to individuals who wanted to start a business. The program was considered successful as 40 businesses received assistance. One of the priorities of CAMEO is working with state and federal workforce associations and the Department of Labor to recognize and develop self employment as a form of job creation.
“Stacey Sanchez’s passion and commitment to helping small businesses access capital is contagious. Like the small businesses she serves, she is hard working, innovative, and always willing to lend a hand,” said J. Adalberto Quijada, District Director for the SBA’s Santa Ana District Office. “We’re pleased to recognize her efforts with this award.”
Every year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, in order to recognize the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners. As part of National Small Business Week, SBA takes the opportunity to highlight their impact, working to grow small businesses, create 21st century jobs, drive innovation, and increase America’s global competitiveness.