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|SBA recognizes OIB as 'Rising Star Lender'|
Ouachita Independent Bank has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as one of the state's "Rising Star Lenders."
OIB officials were presented the "Rising Star Lenders" award Sept. 10 at the OIB Plaza in Monroe.
Michael Ricks, Louisiana district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, presented the award to OIB President Whitty Hood.
"One of the benefits of being president of a bank is I don't have to do anything except receive awards," Hood said while recognizing the bank's employees for OIB receiving the award.
"I've been in this business 40 years and I've never been associated with men and women, professionals and lenders like the ones here at OIB," Hood said. "I am lucky enough to get the trophy, but they are the ones who do the work. If there were enough trophies to go around, that's where they should go … to them, not to me."
OIB primarily serves north Louisiana where "it supports the growth and development of small businesses in the predominately smaller cities and rural communities of this region," Ricks said. "With the recent increase in SBA lending, OIB has been able to make a substantial and positive impact in an area that has been significantly affected by the recent economic downturn."
"Having surged from the Louisiana District Office's lender ranking of 31 in 2008 to 11 in 2009, OIB's efforts have truly paid off," he said. "They are deserving of the recognition as SBA's Rising Star Lender."
Each year the U.S. Small Business Administration recognizes a Louisiana bank that has exceeded expectations in providing loans to small businesses.
"Access to capital is the lifeblood of small business, and small business is the driving force of our economy," Ricks said. "By keeping their commitments to small business during this rough economic climate, OIB is playing a critical role in the state's recovery. We are pleased to recognize their good work and be a partner with them in helping small businesses grow and succeed."
OIB is the No. 1 SBA lender in the north Louisiana region, Ricks said.
"And, this region is the hardest hit economic region in the state, bar none," he said. "We believe that SBA lending can be a partner with our banks for access to capital for businesses that are struggling."