First Internet Bank beefs up small-business lending division with new hires

Fishers-based First Internet Bancorp has hired four new bankers as part of the bank’s continuing expansion of its Small Business Administration lending division.

The company now has nine business development officers and a manager on its SBA lending team.

The new hires, all of whom started this month at First Internet, are Samuel Criales, formerly of Festus, Missouri-based Midwest Regional Bank; Thomas Hurdman, formerly of New York City-based Ready Capital; Laurel McNamara, formerly of Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bank; and Ben Woodward, formerly of Chicago-based Byline Bank.

“We expect to have more announcements of this kind as we continue to grow our team,” First Internet Chief Operating Officer Nicole Lorch told IBJ via email.

First Internet began assembling its small-business division in late 2018, and it hired its first member for the team in early 2019. As part of its strategy to grow that line of business, the bank acquired the Schaumburg, Illinois-based SBA lending division of Paonia, Colorado-based First Colorado National Bank in November 2019.

The SBA’s most common loan program, known as the 7(a) loan, is designed to make it easier for small businesses to borrow money. Eligible businesses can borrow up to $5 million, and the loans carry capped interest rates and limited fees. The government guarantees a portion of the loans, which reduces the risk to lenders in case of default.

During the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, First Internet Bank originated $109.5 million worth of 7(a) loans, ranking it as the 40th most active 7(a) lender in the United States.

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