The main ingredient to fueling a dream is passion, as American Bank of Missouri attests, which is why it has a dedicated team that devotes themselves to making your business visions come to life. The place where passion and reality meets is best guided by the No. 1 team in Small Business Administration (SBA) lending in the St. Louis area.

“Our secret sauce is how we approve and close loans,” senior VP and SBA division manager Ted Kraizer says. SBA loans are backed 75 percent by the federal government and awarded to candidates who do not qualify for standard loans, whether due to lack of collateral or a down payment or because the business in question is a startup.

American Bank was named the “St. Louis District Office 2019 Community Bank of the Year” by the United States Small Business Administration and earned the designation of Preferred Lender. “We are successful because of the support of our board of directors and CEO,” Kraizer declares. “Other banks measure their [turnaround time] in weeks; we measure ours in days.”

The leadership team at American Bank trusted Kraizer to build the SBA loan department from scratch, beginning in March 2017. Gina Rodgers, Kraizer’s former colleague, brought her expertise in SBA to the operations side of the team. Another former colleague, Brian McCarthy, joined next as credit manager and has evolved into a successful lender. Kraizer then met SBA lender Dave Ruby through a mutual professional acquaintance, and Melissa Ewen was brought in by Rodgers, whom she had known professionally for years.

“Our strategy is offering the best service in the market,” Kraizer says of the significant award the team earned. “What we did last year was great. Now, we’ve got to do it again! And as of May, we’re leading the pack for SBA lending this year.”

American Bank of Missouri, 314-482-8564 (Ted Kraizer), 314-341-8869 (Dave Ruby), 314-605-5002 (Brian McCarthy),

LN's special content writer has a love for all things beautiful, from people trying to change the world for the better to fashion and beauty to picturesque places found around the globe.