Meridian Bank is planning to go national with specialized SBA lending in the franchise space, writes Jeff Blumenthal for the Philadelphia Business Journal.
The bank began SBA lending at the end of last year when Rocco Perate, Beneficial Bank’s director of SBA lending, decided to move his team to Meridian instead of joining WSFS Bank, which acquired Beneficial in March.
Perate’s team handled the franchise work at Beneficial and has existing relationships in the field. Now, Meridian Bank plans to first hire one person to focus purely on franchise lending, with the ultimate goal of expanding east of the Mississippi River.
“We don’t want to go west of the Mississippi, and we want to focus on existing franchises like an Iron Hill or Chipotle,” said Meridian CEO Chris Annas. “We’re going to go slow and get comfortable with it. But we think it has some potential.”
In the year since entering the market, Meridian has already granted 31 SBA 7(a) loans in eastern Pennsylvania, valued at $25.4 million. That ranks it as the eighth-largest SBA lender for the last fiscal year.
Read more about Meridian Bank in the Philadelphia Business Journal here.