Washington, D.C. (April 7, 2014)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) today congratulated former ICBA community banker Maria Contreras-Sweet for being sworn in as the head the Small Business Administration. Contreras-Sweet is the founder and chairman of ProAmérica Bank, a community bank in Los Angeles.
“ICBA congratulates Maria Contreras-Sweet on her swearing in as SBA administrator,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “Ms. Contreras-Sweet has dedicated her career to supporting small businesses, consumers and local economies like so many other community bankers. Her experience as a community banker will serve her well at the SBA.”
Contreras-Sweet founded Latino-owned ProAmérica Bank in 2006. The community bank offers bilingual services and specializes in lending to small and medium-sized businesses. In addition to founding the Latino-owned ProAmérica Bank, Contreras-Sweet has served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, where she oversaw 40,000 state employees and a $12 billion budget. She also has served and on the board of California Blue Cross.
Community banks are prolific small-business lenders, accounting for nearly 60 percent of all small-business loans of less than $1 million, including SBA loans. These institutions help communities flourish by focusing on local small businesses and entrepreneurs to drive local economic growth and prosperity. ICBA community bank members hold more than $1.2 trillion in assets, $1 trillion in deposits and nearly $750 billion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community.
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services.