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FAIRWINDS Credit Union awarded Preferred Lender status from SBA

Orlando, Fla. (March 29, 2011) FAIRWINDS Credit Union today announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has awarded it "Preferred Lender" status under the SBA's Preferred Lender Program (PLP). The designation streamlines the loan approval process offering faster turnaround time for loans to Central Florida small businesses. FAIRWINDS is the only credit union in Florida to have received the PLP status, and one of the few in the country.

"We are honored to receive this designation. It is recognition of our outstanding performance as an SBA lender and more importantly it will allow us to serve our local businesses even better," said Jorge Machado, Senior Vice President of Business Services.

Under the PLP status, the SBA delegates the approval, closing, servicing, and liquidation authority to FAIRWINDS Credit Union. "We expect turnaround time on SBA loans through the credit union to reduce by two to three weeks with the Preferred Lender Program," states Machado.

In addition to the PLP status, the SBA awarded FAIRWINDS the ability to offer SBA Express and Patriot Express Loans. These are streamlined small business loans for needs up to $1,000,000 that do not require the typical in depth SBA application process. With the addition of these programs, the PLP designation, and the SBA's recent temporary increase in the loan size limit to $5 million, FAIRWINDS is poised to meet the credit needs of the Central Florida businesses.

FAIRWINDS began granting SBA loans in 2004 and is active in helping its small business members with their lending needs. In May 2010 FAIRWINDS received the Credit Union of the Year award by the North Florida District Office of the SBA, which includes Central Florida. "Serving the small business community in Central Florida is a key strategic initiative for the credit union," says Larry Tobin, President/CEO of FAIRWINDS. "Many of our members are small business owners in need of financial assistance so their business can continue to thrive. We want to be that financial partner and have made serving them a priority."

FAIRWINDS Credit Union, headed by President/CEO Larry Tobin, is the largest financial institution based in Central Florida, with assets over $1.5 billion, more than 144,000 members and over 500 employees. The financial cooperative established in 1949 is open to anyone living or working in Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Osceola, Polk, Brevard or Lake counties, including The Villages. Accounts are also open to businesses operating in these locations.. For more information, visit