BROOKFIELD, WI – FEBRUARY 23, 2011 - - - - During these hard economic times we know that one of the best ways to help aid our Country in the recovery process is to assist and build businesses that create jobs, and spur growth. Yesterday, in Wisconsin, we had the opportunity to celebrate and highlight successful efforts from the past year.
USDA Rural Development Rural Business and Cooperative Programs Administrator, Judith Canales, joined U.S. Senator Herbert Kohl (WI-D) and USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski, at a luncheon event honoring Ridgestone Bank in Brookfield, Wis. Ridgestone Bank was the number one Business and Industry (B&I) Guaranteed Loan Program lender in the Nation in 2010.
Administrator Canales presented Ridgestone Bank with an award recognizing the outstanding performance utilizing the USDA Rural Development B&I Guaranteed Loan Program. During the past year, Ridgestone Bank approved more than $84 million in loans to assist and grow rural businesses, both here in WI and across the Nation, through the USDA Rural Development program. Bruce Lammers, President of Ridgestone Bank, accepted the award on behalf of the Board of Directors and employees of the financial institution.
Administrator Canales praised Ridgestone for their efforts, achievements and partnership with USDA Rural Development, noting that their assistance to these rural businesses have helped area residents and stimulate the local economy.
In 2009, Wisconsin ranked number one in the nation for their USDA Rural Development B&I Guaranteed Loan Program activity. This past year, nearly $165 million assisted 39 Wisconsin businesses, saving more than 4,860 jobs, and helping to create more than 500 additional jobs; ranking Wisconsin third nationally.
In his remarks, Senator Kohl stated that he was honored to support such a program like the Business and Industry Program through USDA Rural Development. He added that this program is essential in supporting businesses and providing needed jobs.
Ridgestone Bank was purchased by their current management in 2006, since then assets have grown from $14 million to $640 million today. The B&I Guaranteed Loans are approximately 30 percent of their total portfolio, about $192 million, with loans to businesses in 19 states.
Following the Award Celebration, Administrator Canales had the opportunity to tour a business that has benefited from partnership of USDA Rural Development and Ridgestone Bank, Serigraph, Inc. in West Bend, Wis. Serigraph, Inc. received a $7,855,000 B&I Guaranteed Loan through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2010. Serigraph is an industry leader in printing, molding, and custom graphics company specializing in decorative, functional, and brand identity solutions for consumer and industrial products, point of purchase, and promotions. In addition to six facilities and their headquarters in West Bend, Serigraph has four other plants around the globe; Mexico, India, and two in China.
The USDA Rural Development B&I Guaranteed Loan Program supports businesses and the creation/retention of jobs in rural areas. The greatest benefit of the Program to the business is that it enables the business to establish long-term financing. The purpose of the B&I Guaranteed Loan Program is to improve, develop, or finance business, industry, and employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. This purpose is achieved by bolstering the existing private credit structure through the guarantee of quality loans which will provide lasting community benefits. It is not intended that the guarantee authority will be used for marginal or substandard loans or for relief of lenders having such loans.
USDA Rural Development’s mission is to deliver programs in a way that will support increasing economic opportunity and improve the quality of life of rural residents. As the lead federal agency for rural development needs, USDA Rural Development returned nearly $936 million dollars this past year to rural Wisconsin communities. Funds are used to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technological infrastructures. Further information on USDA Rural Development programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting the web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/wi.