As the United States economy continues to move forward in an increasingly global economy, Lakeland Bank has become more innovative and resourceful in reaching out to the growing Hispanic population.
With some 1.2 million Hispanics in New Jersey alone comprising 13 percent of the state’s population, this market is growing rapidly, and for this reason is becoming more important with time. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2050, “one out of four citizens will be Hispanic.”
With assets of approximately $2.3 billion, Lakeland Bank has built a reputation for empowering Hispanics and supporting their business financing needs. Providing for new business opportunities in the New Jersey Hispanic community is also good business, with the purchasing power of Hispanics on the rise. According to new estimates by HispanTelligence, the research unit of Hispanic Business Inc., Hispanic purchasing power nationwide has surged to nearly $700 billion and is projected to reach as much as $1 trillion by 2010.
Service and Products
As a community bank, customers report that Lakeland Bank has surpassed the standards of the major and regional banks in terms of customer service and products.
“The individualized and professional service this bank has to offer to Latino entrepreneurs is most definitely an asset for new business owners,” says Luis Ortiz, owner of Exito Reality LLC. Ortiz started a close relationship with Lakeland Bank in 2002 after acquiring his first home mortgage and subsequently was able to get a commercial mortgage in 2003 to start his own business. He was introduced to Lakeland’s Small Business Administration program, where he was able to get free consultations and advice in order to complete all the documentation required to get the business loan approved.
Another business Lakeland Bank helped to thrive was CP Builders, a flourishing construction company located in West New York, N.J. Rolando Cribeiro, president of the company, says that when he began researching and asking other Hispanic entrepreneurs what was the best option for financial and commercial loans, the answer always seemed to be the same: Lakeland Bank.
“The familiarity and excellent service of everyone who works for this bank will help any Latino interested in owning a business pursue their dream,” he says. “In my personal case, the advice and the opportunities offered to me by Lakeland Bank became not only a dream come true, but also the door to new business opportunities.”
Cribeiro, who believes that Lakeland Bank represents an open-door opportunity for Hispanic businesses, is himself a perfect example of how the bank works with and for Latino business entrepreneurs.
Lakeland Bank offers many options for the Latino entrepreneur market, such as small business lines of credit (up to $500,000); asset-based lending programs which result in increased borrowing capacity, flexibility and competitive costs; flexible commercial mortgages; Small Business Administration loans for small businesses that might not be eligible for business loans through conventional lending channels; a business manager line of credit to improve cash flow; equipment leasing opportunities; tiered business money markets for higher returns; free business checking; online business banking for easier and more convenient money transfers, balance checking and bill payments; and any-time business banking for electronic check solutions.
Today, nearly 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic. That’s about 44 million people living in the United States who probably speak Spanish. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, “the rate of growth is nearly three times the overall national rate over the past decade, and propelled the aggregate disposable income of the nation’s largest minority group to $699.78 billion in 2004.”
Lakeland Bank continues to recognize this trend, and through customer service and the right mix of financial products, will continue to pursue New Jersey’s Hispanic entrepreneurs.
Roger Bosma (email@example.com) is chairman of NJBankers and president and chief executive officer of Lakeland Bank and its parent company, Lakeland Bancorp Inc., both of Oak Ridge.