Five Questions With: Harold Horvat
By Eli Sherman PBN Staff Writer Twitter: @Eli_Sherman
Harold Horvat is executive vice president and chief lending and retail officer at Centreville Bank. He talks with Providence Business News about how the bank has expanded its lending capabilities, and is experiencing robust growth in loans backed in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
PBN: Can you tell our readers a little bit about what strategies you have focused on most since joining Centreville?
HORVAT: Over the past two years, we have focused on expanding our lending capabilities, both commercial and residential, beyond our roots in the Pawtuxet Valley. We now lend throughout Rhode Island and across state lines into Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well. To achieve this goal, we have expanded our product mix for both commercial and residential loans, improved our technology infrastructure and expanded our staff by hiring experienced lending professionals.
PBN: How would you characterize SBA lending through the bank this year? Why?
HORVAT: SBA loans are strong components of our product suite. They are part of our larger strategy to expand the line of products we offer to our customers, and have helped us grow our loan portfolio.
PBN: Why has the bank seen such robust growth within the 504 loan program?
HORVAT: We have hired commercial bankers with considerable experience in SBA 504 and other SBA loans. They offer deep knowledge of the 504 loan product itself, how to explain the benefits to customers and how to lead the customer through the approval process. Customers who select SBA 504 benefit by receiving a long-term fixed rate on the SBA guaranteed portion of the loan, and can receive up to 90 percent financing for the acquisition, construction or expansion of their business.
Programs like this one, and the new Rhode Island Capital Access Program, give us innovative ways to help Rhode Island-based businesses get the capital they need to grow their businesses. While we are not unique in offering them, we have been actively marketing and promoting these products to our customers and prospects, and our customers and prospects are responding favorably.
PBN: What other types of lending products are experiencing growth?
HORVAT: We are seeing growth in a variety of industries that has led to growth in the types of loans they need. All areas have experienced increased demand, including investment real estate, hotels, equipment financing and working capital. On the residential lending side, in response to demand, we have added two new products, an investment property line of credit, and a doctor loan program.
PBN: How would you describe the overall economy here, and how is that reflected at Centreville?
HORVAT: There appear to be pockets of steady growth in a wide variety of industries and geographic locations, both in commercial lending and in commercial and residential real estate. At Centreville, we are optimistic and have invested significantly in our people and our infrastructure to serve the needs of Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island’s economy. As an indication of our commitment, we recently renovated an adjacent merchants’ block and turned it into our new loan center.