Atlanta-based Summit National Bank, which was created in 1987 to serve underbanked ethnic communities, has succeeded by granting “good character loans” instead of only collateral-based loans, according to Nuby Fowler, Summit’s Colombia-born branch manager and vice president of Latin American banking.
Ms. Fowler was joined by Anna Cablik, a native of Panama and president of contracting and steel manufacturing companies in Atlanta, to give a presentation about the bank’s lending policies during a luncheon of the Atlanta Women’s Network Inc. in Buckhead last week.
The two women discussed the difficulties incurred by Hispanic immigrants, and especially Hispanic women, to obtain bank loans to start companies in Georgia.
“Credit history is typically the only tool bankers have to determine whether or not they will give someone a loan,” Ms. Fowler said. “Summit National Bank is distinct because we take the lendee’s character as the most important criterion.”
She said that Summit Bank evaluates immigrant entrepreneurs according to their level of organization, planning, determination and perceived capability to determine their eligibility to receive loans for capital and other resources to start their businesses.
Ms. Cablik, who started Anasteel & Supply Co., the only Hispanic female owned steel fabricator in the Southeast, is a client of Summit Bank. She advised female and minority entrepreneurs seeking loans to become certified as minorities and to deal with smaller banks that are more likely to grant the loans.
“It’s not just banking, it’s bonding,” Ms. Cablik said, noting that developing relationships with immigrant-friendly banks is helpful for foreign-born entrepreneurs in pursuing ventures
Summit National Bank specializes in banking services for small businesses and “hyphenated Americans,” including Asian– and Hispanic-Americans and others. It also specializes in international trade finance programs for these customers.
Summit has an Asian Banking Center and corporate headquarters in Chamblee and branch offices in Peachtree Corners, Vinings and San Jose, Calif.
The bank’s total assets grew from $180 million to $340 million from 1997 to 2001.
The Atlanta Women’s Network is a professional and business women’s networking organization that promotes and empowers women and influences women’s issues in the Atlanta community.
Contact Summit National Bank’s corporate headquarters at (770) 454-0400 or visit www.summitbk.com. Contact Ms. Cablik at (770) 971-2238. Contact the AWN at (404) 471-1103 or visit www.atlantawomensnetwork.org