Anyway, to commemorate the passing of another year, we have a nice dinner for our Board of Directors where we discuss the past year’s high points and low points and what to expect for the coming year. Enterprise Development is blessed with a very intelligent and highly involved board. Listening to them was very interesting and enlightening. Hearing these very successful men and women discuss and politely debate some of the issues we face made me start thinking, “Who are we?” Not the “who are we” that comes up with questions of existential angst and self-doubt. Not the “where do we fit in the universe” contemplations. I am far too shallow for deep thoughts like that. I was legitimately thinking, “Who is this organization that pays me to write these blogs and analyze risk and underwrite loans.”
There are a lot of high volume Certified Development Companies (CDC) throughout the United States. CDC’s are not-for-profit organizations started to promote economic development by making 504 Real Estate Advantage Loans. These high volume CDC’s often have giant portfolios and in many cases, have virtually no relationship with the borrower. They have great systems in place to manage volume and are very effective meeting the needs of their clients. We, however, certainly do not fall into that category. We are but a speck of dust on the giant elephant’s dandelion compared to them (no philosophical thinking from this guy… unless it comes from Dr. Seuss or a Mickey’s Big Mouth lid).
So who are we? Enterprise Development Corporation is a very small, niche community lender and supporter. We create relationships with borrowers, civic leaders and bankers. We tend to stay in markets that we can service within a few hours of travel. Enterprise understands every loan it makes and how that loan might affect our banking partner, the borrower and the overall community. We pride ourselves on the thoroughness and service that only a small organization can provide.
We also work with entrepreneurs who are not candidates for 504 loans. These business owners may only be at the beginning of their entrepreneurial journey and do not need to buy real estate or property yet. We know and understand that these folks are the background of the community and increase the overall economic outlook for the area. As President Kennedy said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” These entrepreneurs perfectly fit our niche and we are proud to serve them.
I am not sure this totally encapsulates who Enterprise Development Corporation is and its true purpose, though I think it is close. We are not revolutionary and have no “secret sauce” that has allowed us to successfully stay in business for the past 30 odd years. We have evolved with the times (blogging, SEO, changing credit standards..even twitter) but have really tried to remain true to our roots. We try to be the face of community 504 lending in central Missouri, offering support and help to anyone who needs it. That is our mission, and I hope it never changes.