By Rhonda Miller
PBN Staff Writer
Joe Silva is vice president of commercial lending at Pawtucket Credit Union. He is responsible for generating new relationships, managing the existing portfolio and overseeing the operation of the commercial loan department. He has 15 years of experience in the banking industry.
Silva is a member of the advisory committee for the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Rhode Island and is chairman of the board of Skate for Joy.
Silva has a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from the University of Rhode Island.
PBN: What’s the general environment for commercial lending now in Rhode Island? Are you finding an increase in any particular sector? Why do you think that’s doing better than other segments of the marketplace?
SILVA: The present environment is conducive to commercial lending. Although many industries have contracted due to the economy, apartment lending has been strong. This trend, I believe, is due to the rise in home foreclosures. Former homeowners have now turned renters, thereby shrinking the availability for apartment units. As a commercial property investor, that becomes an appealing, not to mention profitable, venture.
PBN: Have you found that Rhode Island is still lagging behind other states in the economic recovery? How does this impact the banking industry here?
SILVA: Rhode Island’s economic recovery, albeit marching at a slow and steady pace, appears to have begun the journey back. For many businesses, it has been a struggle just to keep the doors open. Past difficulties have depleted reserves and in many cases, affected personal credit. We offer easy access to experienced lenders and local decision making without the inconvenience of having to go through multiple layers in the loan approval process.
PBN: Is Pawtucket Credit Union more stringent or has it eased requirements on commercial lending? How does this impact business in Rhode Island, especially small businesses, which often need an influx of cash to stay above water and expand?
SILVA: We have leveraged our relationship with the Small Business Administration. As a Preferred Lender, they’ll assist us in providing much needed capital to small businesses.
PBN: Has the slow pace of the housing industry with fewer mortgages caused the bank to increase commercial lending maintain financial balance?
SILVA: Our decision to grow the commercial portfolio is in response to the needs of our members and the community at large.
PBN: What’s your perspective on the Rhode Island economy in the next year? Two years? Five years?
SILVA: I believe the economy has begun to recover. There’s reason for optimism as our elected officials and many business leaders are working together to make improving our economy a priority. In that spirit, Pawtucket Credit Union has positioned itself to be a strong, viable alternative to traditional commercial lenders.