The 2017 Financial Services Champion is Gerald Baroudi, of Business Finance Group in Gambrills, nominated by Strategic Banking Partners.
A career banker, with a wealth of experience in lending at all levels; it was Gerald’s first deal that would later prove to be his calling. While working at a traditional brick and mortar bank, he had to turn away his first loan applicant because they didn’t fit the “cookie cutter” model that the bank’s loan programs were designed for. It was a heartbreaking moment that has stuck with Gerald throughout his career.
Over the years, Gerald learned about SBA lending programs and the options they offered to dedicated, passionate entrepreneurs that found themselves in a difficult spot, often because of poor credit or a limited down payment. He immersed himself in the SBA’s Standard Operating Procedures and became an expert in the art of the SBA deal. He particularly enjoys the intellectual challenges that a SBA deal brings, complying with the ever changing SOP --for the lenders in the room, it’s ok to laugh-- and crafting each deal individually to best suit the small business and its unique needs.
Recognizing a need within the banking industry for SBA loan specialists, he co-founded Strategic Banking Partners, to basically serve as sub-contractors to assist smaller banks with SBA loan processing. This allows smaller banks to maximize their resources while providing great service to their customers. Gerald has since sold his interest in the business and now focuses on the SBA 504 program at Business Finance Group. Gerald’s expertise and creativity contribute to BFG consistently ranking as the SBA Baltimore District Office’s Top 504 lender.
As President of the Maryland Commercial Lenders’ Association, Gerald has made it his personal mission to attract younger bankers, encouraging them to specialize in SBA financing programs. He firmly believes in the benefits of the program and quickly shares his knowledge with the future leaders in lending.
He is involved in a variety of charity work throughout the Washington Metro area, including assisting inmates re-enter the workforce, assisting them with resume and interview skills and holding clothing drives to ensure they have proper workplace attire. He also works to rehab houses for those in need.