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Banker: We have $20M for small business loans

Joe Perri, chief executive of Gold Coast Bank

Joe Perri, chief executive of Gold Coast Bank of Islandia Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Many business breakfast meetings find people still half-asleep.

But those who attend the Hauppauge Industrial Association’s breakfast Wednesday are sure to be wide-awake when they hear what Joe Perri has to say.

Perri, chief executive of Gold Coast Bank of Islandia, will announce the bank has $20 million in loans it is looking to make to small businesses on Long Island.

“All banks say they have money to lend,” Perri said earlier this week. “But we’re making a commitment to a definitive dollar amount and to a specific segment of the business community on Long Island, which is the small business community.”

The bank, which turns 3 in April, has never made such a commitment before, Perri said. He said some qualified borrowers may get rates as low as 4 percent. Many will be in the 5 percent to 5.5 range, he said. Perri said he hopes the bank will be able to make between 40 to 50 loans to small businesses with sales in the $1-million to $7-million range. All types of businesses are welcome, Perri said.

“I hope the [$20 million] is used up in six months,” Perri said.

Potential borrowers are accustomed to hearing banks say there is loan money available, only to learn that the loan money is not available to them. Perri said Gold Coast will refer customers not qualified for bank loans to other lenders it works with.

Gold Coast Bank can be flamboyant. Last year, it announced that it would employee a Japanese tactic of using “foot soldiers" — bank employees who go out and make house calls on customers, even if the customer just wants to open an account.

Douglas Manditch, chief executive of Islandia-based Empire National Bank, a competitor, said Gold Coast’s latest move is a marketing tool.

“It’s probably something all of us have done at one time or another,” Manditch said.

“We’re always looking to do more business, all of us.”

The HIA breakfast is at 9 a.m. at Gold Coast’s headquarters in Islandia.

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