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The Regional Development Company has announced it closed 18 small-business loans for a total of $10.3 million in 2015, which helped create or retain up to 276 jobs.

By working with local banks and small businesses, $24.1 million of new investments were made throughout the greater Chicagoland area the Regional Development Company serves, according to President and Executive Director Erica Dombey.

The Regional Development Company, based in Valparaiso, is an economic development organization licensed by the U.S. Small Business Administration to make loans to small businesses under the SBA's 504 loan program.

Those loans leverage lending from local banks along with money provided by the small businesses themselves.

The organization also elected a new board of directors and three new board members for 2016 at its annual meeting at White Hawk Country Club on Nov. 5.

Tom Wilk, of Centier Bank, was elected as chairman; Bert Cook, of the Greater LaPorte Economic Development Corp., was elected vice chairman; John Matthiesen, of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP, was elected treasurer; and Scott Casbon, of First Merchant's Bank, was elected secretary. Linda Hough of CLH PC will be past chairwoman.

New board members elected at the Nov. 5 meeting at White Hawk Country Club were Steve Nicksic, of Bradley Co.; Gilbert Rynbert, of Wintrust Bank; and David Hinderliter, of the Chicago Southland Chamber of Commerce.

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