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Centier named 'bank of the year'

The Regional Development Company named Centier Bank its bank of the year for community business lending.

Centier Bank was named "Bank of the Year" for Community Business Lending in 2017 by the Regional Development Co.

The Valparaiso-based financial institution is a development company that specializes in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 SBA Loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners throughout Northwest Indiana. It recognized Centier for making eight loans with $5,137,000 in referral dollars to small businesses over the past year.

Center Bank Vice President and Group Manager of Business Banking Greg Gordon also was honored with a "Most Active Lender" award at the Regional Development Co.'s annual awards ceremony for referring $3.5 million in loans backed by general credit.

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"The Lender of the Year award is really a byproduct of the team award," Gordon said. "A typical 504 loan has multiple touch points with numerous bank departments and functions. At each point in the process there is a 'value add' provided. Although the loan officer is the client’s direct connection to the bank, there are many associates who interface indirectly with the borrower from application to close. Being a local community bank that facilitates the entire process — in conjunction with the Regional Development Company — we are able to provide a hands-on, seamless transaction.”

The privately owned Centier, which has been owned by the Schrage family for generations, is the largest bank in Northwest Indiana by local deposits and also the market's leading bank in commercial real estate lending.

"Centier offers the 504 SBA Loan program as an instrument to help local communities grow and develop economically," the bank said in a news release. "The program provides small companies with long-term fixed-rate financing for expansion, modernization and for land and large equipment purchases."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.