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LMCU Awarded 2024 International Trade Lender of the Year by U.S. Small Business Administration

Grand Rapids, Mich. (April 2, 2024) – Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) is proud to announce that the Small Business Administration (SBA)’s Office of International Trade has selected LMCU as the 2024 International Trade Lender of the Year. Part of the SBA’s 2024 Export Lender Awards, the International Trade Lender of the Year award recognizes the credit union’s efforts to increase access to capital for U.S. small businesses by providing international trade financing.

The award was presented to LMCU on Wednesday, March 20 at Buell Motorcycle Company, a local business in Grand Rapids, Michigan that recently obtained an International Trade loan through LMCU to assist in growing their export sales. Representatives from LMCU and the SBA were in attendance.

“The Office of International Trade is honored to recognize Lake Michigan Credit Union with the SBA’s International Trade Lender award for 2024,” said SBA Acting Associate Administrator for the Office of International Trade Claire Ehmann. “Access to capital remains a critical component to any business involved in international trade. The export financing and working capital provided by lending institutions is crucial to closing the trade finance gap, which all too often holds many businesses back from international opportunities.”

“LMCU is honored to be named Export Lender of the Year which underscores our SBA team’s unwavering dedication to empowering small businesses to achieve their full potential,” said LMCU Senior Vice President and SBA Lending Director Javier Jorge. “Our SBA lending experts understand the exporting business and educate our business members throughout the loan process to ensure they get the financing they need so they can achieve their goals. It’s a privilege to develop long-term relationships with local, small business owners and watch their businesses grow — and in turn, help our communities thrive.”   

In 2024, LMCU was the top International Trade Lender by count, providing more than $21 million in support to small business exporters. LMCU expanded into SBA lending by way of their acquisition of Pilot Bank in 2021 and has since made supporting small businesses, including exporters, a central part of their mission to help businesses grow and prosper.

“With over 97% of all exporters being small businesses, our SBA business is a top area of growth at LMCU,” stated LMCU President/CEO Julie Leonard. “We are committed to providing international trade loans to help our local businesses and communities we serve thrive.”

Lake Michigan Credit Union offers SBA lending solutions to businesses across Michigan and Florida. An SBA Preferred Lender, LMCU and is approved to make final credit decisions on SBA-guaranteed loans, allowing them to cut down processing time and provide a superior experience.

To find out more about LMCU, visit

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