15 Minutes With… Larry Cresswell


Larry Cresswell on small-business lending in Washington state

Larry Cresswell
Vice President—Small Business Lending of the $720 Million-Asset Bank of Washington in Washington, Mo.

IB: Where is Bank of Washington? What is the market like?

Cresswell: We’re located in Washington, Mo., on the western fringe of the greater St. Louis metro area. Washington is a vibrant community with just fewer than 14,000 residents situated on the banks of the Missouri River. We have six locations spread across the communities of Washington, Gray Summit and Villa Ridge.

Our market is a dichotomy due to our proximity to St. Louis as well as Central Missouri. Small manufacturing, machining and retail businesses dominate our marketplace, but agricultural production and professional services are present here as well.

IB: Bank of Washington was a top Small Business Administration lender in 2013. Why was it so successful?

Cresswell: Our dedicated small-business lending team can be credited with a lot of the success. Unlike most banks where lenders are involved in making a variety of loans, our small-business lending team focuses solely on SBA Loans, USDA loans and conventional small-business lending. Our team understands the SBA program better than most of our competitors and can get the approvals done quicker and better position borrowers in regards to loan structure and interest rates.

In just over two years we’ve been able to grow our SBA portfolio from zero dollars to over $16 million.

IB: What’s something unique about Bank of Washington?

Cresswell: It’s the oldest and largest family-owned business in Franklin County. The bank open in 1877 and our president is a fourth-generation community banker. The bank truly runs like any other small, family-operated business. We treat other small businesses as we’d like to be treated. It’s something that really makes us different from the other banks in the area.

IB: If you weren’t working as a community banker, what would you be doing?

Cresswell: I’ve got a bit of entrepreneurial spirit, so I’d likely own and operate my own small business. I’m not quite sure what that business would be yet, probably something farming-related.