Financial Services Advocate Featured

6:54am EDT April 29, 2004
Michele Bush has a long history of working with small businesses and the U.S. Small Business Administration at several banks in the Central Pennsylvania region, starting at Central Bank in 1995 and Keystone Bank in 1997.

Under her direction, Keystone became the largest SBA lender in Pennsylvania, with 473 loans for nearly $60 million.

"I believe the most important thing that we can do to advocate small business is to educate the community on the importance of the impact that small business has on the economy," says Bush.

Bush continued to assist small business owners during a stint as a business analyst at Saint Francis College Small Business Development Center and with Harry Sickler & Associates, a CPA firm. She returned to banking in 2001 at Promistar Bank, continuing her efforts to help small business owners.

Bush started the SBA lending program at Nittany Bank in State College, where she is currently employed, and is in the process of obtaining Preferred Lender status for the bank. Over the course of her career, she has assisted clients in obtaining 712 loans for more than $78 million.

Bush is president of the Western Pennsylvania Association of Guaranteed Lenders, and in that position, she advocates for changes in the financial industry to provide better service to the small business owners of Western Pennsylvania.

Beyond access to capital, Bush says, businesses need to plan for growth and development.

Says Bush: "I believe one of the key factors for a successful small business is ongoing strategic planning. Small businesses usually do not have the resources available to them that larger businesses have."