Partner Success Story - Renee Richard | Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
At Excelsior Growth Fund (EGF), we value the critical role that our financial and community partnerships play in our mission. It’s with their support that we’re able to strengthen communities by helping small business owners find financing that meets their needs and supports their goals.
To show our thanks and demonstrate the power of partnerships, we’re highlighting Renee Richard, a business loan officer at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU). Throughout her 30 years of experience in business banking, Renee has worked closely with business owners to help ensure that they receive the financing they need to grow their businesses and reach their goals. When her clients don’t qualify for financing through HVFCU, Renee goes the extra mile and refers them to an alternative lender, like EGF, who can help them with their financing needs.
We talked with Renee to learn more about what she finds most rewarding about working at HVFCU and why she refers her clients to EGF.
How did you get into small business banking?
I have been involved in business banking for 30 years, and I have found it extremely rewarding. Obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance and a Master’s in Business Administration helped propel my career in banking and lead to many opportunities, including branch sales management, branch management/administration, and my current position as a small business lending officer.
What is your role at HVFCU and what do you find most rewarding about your role?
As a small business lending officer, it is my job to partner with all of our branches to assist business members with determining lending solutions to fit their current and future business needs.
I find it most rewarding when I can make a difference for a business member (a HVFCU client) by helping them with their financing needs, no matter which business growth phase they are currently in.
Can you tell us about a specific moment in working with small businesses that you are proud of?
While I was visiting with members and non-members, I came across a small business owner working in a shell of a building. I stopped in and shared my contact information with her. I also explained to her how HVFCU would like to partner with her for her banking needs. Two weeks later, she called stating that she was ready to open her doors, and that she wanted to learn more about HVFCU. I went to visit her location, and it was just her and I in the office. I began helping her answer phone calls from eager customers, as she readied her office to open for business! It has been several years, and our banking relationship has flourished. We often look back at her soft opening and revisit our meeting that day!
What’s in your toolkit when a customer doesn’t qualify for financing products with HVFCU?
When members do not yet qualify for one of our financing products, we still want to maintain a strong relationship with them. I always try to find them alternative lending solutions by referring them to organizations such as Excelsior Growth Fund, and its affiliates New York Business Development Corporation (NYBDC) and The 504 Company.
Why do you choose to refer customers to Excelsior Growth Fund?
Carol O’Connell is a trusted team member at EGF. If one of our business member’s loan requests do not fit into the EGF product suite, she seeks out alternative loan options with her team, to ensure our business members obtain the right loan for their current needs.
How has partnering with EGF benefited HVFCU or your relationship with your clients?
Saying we care for members and their needs is one thing. Going the extra mile to partner with alternative lenders who can truly help them through a financing issue backs up those words with action. Partnering with EGF assures our business members that, although they may not meet our criteria for traditional financing at the present time, we are still a trusted financial partner. Helping them find alternative financing options now can also help make them a better candidate for borrowing with us in the future.
Inspired by Renee’s story? You can learn more about how partnering with EGF works here.