FSWB Named 2022 Community/Rural Lender of the Year

Sherry Waner, FSWB Chief Development Officer
May 6, 2022

Industry recognition underscores bank’s commitment to support economic development in rural Colorado.

First SouthWest Bank (FSWB), a locally owned, independent community bank serving southern and rural Colorado, has been named 2022 Community Rural Lender of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration for the second year in a row.

The award, which distinguishes organizations for their involvement in entrepreneurial development and support for small businesses, recognizes FSWB for its commitment to improve the social and economic landscape of Southern and rural Colorado by ensuring the region’s entrepreneurs, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations have access to inclusive and equitable capital.
Sherry accepting award
“As a locally-owned community bank and a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), our focus has remained steadfast on helping small businesses in our region not just survive, but thrive,” said Kent Curtis, FSWB CEO & President. “These past two years have been incredibly challenging. Our team doubled-down in their efforts to support our rural communities and their small businesses with timely and relevant relief and recovery assistance. We work for rural Colorado every day and are grateful for the recognition.”
The award winners were announced during Small Business Week and recognized at an awards event in Denver on May 6 co-hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Colorado District Office and the City and County of Denver’s Economic Development and Opportunity Office.

“We’re grateful for this award and thank the SBA for their vested interest and continued support in Colorado. Businesses in rural Colorado are often challenged with being able to meet traditional commercial lending underwriting standards and without SBA’s Programs, many of the businesses that we work with would be unable to obtain necessary funding to start, sustain, grow or scale their companies,” said Sherry Waner, FSWB Chief Development Officer. “At FSWB, we try to bridge this gap and break down barriers by enabling more entrepreneurs to access available financing with the utilization of SBA Guaranteed loans and other resources that we have developed in our partner 501c(3) non-profit, First Southwest Community Fund. Having SBA as a partner is critical to the ongoing economic success and viability of businesses in rural areas of our state — and we are making a difference.”

Examples of rural businesses across the state that FSWB has helped through SBA loans include Big John’s Furniture, Riff Raff Brewing, A & C Milling, GEOMAT, Phoenix Recycling, Espinoza Consulting Services, Chinook Medical Gear and Ace Towing.