First Mr. Smith went to Washington and later Mr. Trump, and more recently Mr. Ashby made an appearance in the nation’s capital.
That was Ted Ashby, the president and CEO of Surrey Bank & Trust in Mount Airy, who testified in Congress.
The local banker offered his insights last Thursday to members of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations regarding a Small Business Association loan program.
“Ted was asked by the American Bankers Association, through one of the congressional ladies from Charlotte (Rep. Alma Adams, D-12th) to come to Washington to speak about small business loans and how it affects communities,” Bob Moody of Mount Airy explained Tuesday.
“There were three bankers (involved) from across the country and he was picked,” said Moody, who chairs the board of directors for Surrey Bank & Trust.
The bank is a leading small business lender in the country, according to Moody.
“It is quite an honor that the American Bankers Association asked for Surrey Bank & Trust to represent the nation’s community banks regarding the SBA’s flagship 7(a) program,” he added.
“They (had) asked for our opinion on the pros and cons of the program, how it has helped our bank serve the community and any changes we would like to see.”
The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s most common one, which includes financial help for businesses with special requirements. Those awarded a 7(a) loan may use the proceeds to establish a new business or to assist in the acquisition, operation or expansion of an existing one.
Ashby could not be reached for comment about his presentation before the House Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight and Regulations, which is part of the Committee on Small Business in the U.S. House of Representatives.
But in published reports regarding his testimony in support of the 7(a) loan program on behalf of the American Bankers Association, the Mount Airy banker cited the critical role it plays in early stage businesses.
Ashby said the SBA program helps spark lending that might not have been possible under conventional financing, which often requires an abundance of collateral, a guarantor or shorter loan amortizations. The loans reduce the cost of the transactions and collateral requirements, while also providing for fast response times, among other benefits.
A guarantee provided with such loans helps reduce the risk and capital required for banks, Ashby testified.
The Mount Airy resident also pointed out how community banks such as his emphasize small business lending, which is critical to economic growth and job creation.
He said that along with encouraging growth in the Mount Airy area, the SBA 7(a) loan program has allowed Surrey Bank & Trust to meet the credit needs of numerous small businesses.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.