Oconomowoc-based bank honored by Small Business Administration

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

June 19, 2014

 Technical Metal Specialties co-owner Tim Michel, left, U.S. Small Business Administration District Director Eric Ness, First Bank Financial Centre Vice President Matthew Schwechel, Technical Metal Specialties co-owner Thomas Sheahan and First Bank Financial Centre Senior Vice President Mark McCune stand with the 2013 Wisconsin SBA Volume Lender award given to First Bank Financial Centre Wednesday at Technical Metal Specialties.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

NEW BERLIN - The Oconomowoc-based First Bank Financial Centre was honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration Wednesday for its efforts in making hundreds of loans to small businesses and veterans last year.

The community bank received two awards - one for making 263 SBA loans totaling over $100 million in Wisconsin in 2013, and another for the 18 loans it made to veterans, which exceeded its set goal of 12.

First Bank Senior Vice President and Chief Lending Officer Mark McCune said he was especially pleased by the bank’s ability help out veterans.

“We are really proud of this,” he said. “We want to try and give something back, so we tried extra hard to try and get this last part of the lending factor. We believe it is a big role that our community bank can help.”

The ceremony was held at Technical Metal Specialties, Inc.’s new facility in New Berlin. The company designs and manufactures products ranging from seat frames for mass transit use to menu boards for fast food restaurants and has even gotten involved in federal contracting.

Last year, financial assistance from FBFC allowed TMS co-owners Tim Michel and Tom Sheahan to move their business from a pair of cramped buildings in Milwaukee to a spacious 108,000 square-foot building.

That loan also helped the company to stay alive.

“We probably wouldn’t be in business right now if it was not for (FBFC) and the SBA,” Michel said. “It is that extra piece that helped us move out of where we had been for 23 years and into a much nicer facility and helped us to grow the company.”

According to Michel, if everything goes according to plan this year, his company’s profits could increase by 30 percent. TMS has also created 10 new jobs - increasing its staff to 60 employees - and lease out a $600,000 Mazak Optiplex 3015 laser cutting machine.

Eric Ness, the Small Business Administration’s Wisconsin District director, said helping businesses like Technical Metal Specialties is exactly the reason the SBA exists.

“One of the big things that a lot of small businesses tell us is, they have the dream, they have the idea, but how do we make this work?” he said. “They had this dream, but... somebody had to take a risk on (them), somebody had to give (them) capital, and that is where we roll in.”



Email: mmasterson@conleynet.com