Bullish banks announce new hires, expansion

AMG National Trust Bank in Boulder is bullish on commercial real estate lending in the region this year, after experiencing 45 percent growth in its loan portfolio in 2012.

To keep up with demand, the bank has hired Brett Spillman as a new commercial loan officer in the Boulder office, said Tom Chesney, Boulder-based president of the bank’s commercial loan division. Boulder is the Denver-based bank’s main branch. AMG has four other offices around the nation and $2.5 billion in assets under management.

Residential real estate loans also are picking up in the Boulder/Denver corridor and across the Front Range, Chesney said.

Summit grows mortgage biz

On the residential side, Summit Bank and Trust in Broomfield expects to receive approval from regulators soon to expand into an additional 5,000 square feet of space next to its current mortgage operations office in Greenwood Village.

Summit Bank’s mortgage business has been so busy that the existing office at 5340 S. Quebec St. was bursting at the seams. Jeff Bishop is the bank’s mortgage manager overseeing the location.

Home State Bank hiring

Meanwhile, Home State Bank is hiring people for its new location in Lafayette, which is slated to open in mid-February.

The Loveland-based bank, plans to have six or seven bankers at the new branch at 565 W. South Boulder Road, said Jack Devereaux, the bank’s chairman. The building is being remodeled, and no specific opening date has been set, Deveraux said.

Deveraux plans to be in and out of the new location regularly; he attended the University of Colorado-Boulder and lived in Lafayette earlier in his career.

The new Home State Bank branch is home of the former Guaranty Bank and Trust Co., which consolidated locations in Boulder. Home State has $627.8 million in assets, a branch in Longmont and eight locations in Northern Colorado.

U.S. Bank youth contest

Young people from ages 13 to 22 can share their ideas for entrepreneurial ventures that have potential impacts on the community for a chance at a $15,000 grand prize.

U.S. Bank (with parent U.S. Bancorp in Minneapolis) is a sponsor of the Banking on Youth program. The first-place winner will receive $15,000 for his or her project; a second-place winner receives $5,000. Before the winners are chosen, 30 semifinalists will receive $1,000 seed grants and must do videos, which will be posted on the bankingonyouth.org website, said Amy Frantti, a U.S. Bancorp spokeswoman. Six finalists will be chosen to go to Washington, D.C., in late July to compete in a final “pitch-off,” Frantti said.

With Boulder now known nationally for several of its entrepreneurial projects, local bankers want area residents to become involved.

Contest participants must first submit their venture ideas in writing by March 15. Go to the website for more information about how to enter.

SBA capital investment

If you’re looking for funding, but you’re older than 22 and can’t apply for the contest I just mentioned, the U.S. Small Business Administration might be able to help.

The SBA has a capital investment program that helps entrepreneurs obtain money to license their ideas.

Such companies must raise at least half of their own investment dollars.

Why does it seem as though there’s so much focus on startup companies right now? President Obama’s ongoing Startup America Initiative, launched in 2011, has poured millions of dollars into the national and local economy in this regard.

Funding from Kickstarter

If you don’t qualify for federal funding, there’s always Kickstarter.com and other online crowdfunding websites to look to for help.

In crowdfunding, startup companies and individuals ask for money online for a variety of business- and art-related projects, usually in return for some future gadget from the company.

Such companies include High Roller USA in Boulder, which makes adult-size Big Wheel tricycles, a toy that was popular in the 1970s with children. High Roller received $89,000 from Kickstarter.com about a year ago to make 300 Big Wheels, said Matt Armbruster, company president. Armbruster said he is now ready to ask for more funding from Kickstarter fans to build more Big Wheels.

Another toy — the Atoms Express Toy, made by Seamless Toy Co. in Boulder — closed its Kickstarter funding round at $183,232 on Jan. 1, raising nearly double the $100,000 the company asked for. Production of the toys has yet to start, according to a company spokeswoman.

Beth Potter can be reached at 303-630-1944 or bpotter@bcbr.com.

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