The Bank in Your Backyard Building strong connections with community banks can pay off during uncertain economic times.
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Marilyn O'Neill's company needed money. Nautilus Environmental, the San Diego environmental consulting firm she launched in 2004, had grown quickly. But to continue growing, O'Neill needed about three-quarters of a million bucks--smack in the middle of a recession and on the heels of her company losing about $170,000 during the downturn.
At the same time, the bank she had used since 2006--and the one that held her $550,000 line of credit--increased its loan audits from once a year to four times a year. "I didn't think we should have to do that," she says. "Then the CEO was fired by the board, and it started looking like things were unstable."
So O'Neill began looking to other banks, large and small, in search of funding. Over the course of a year, she talked with about 10 of them, but one community bank in particular, Security Business Bank of San Diego, took an interest in her company. The manager eagerly courted Nautilus and seemed to understand the business.