August 2022
Julie Parker Introduces
Lexi Woods, General Counsel
Julie Parker, GLCF's President, is excited to announce the addition of Lexi Woods, General Counsel, to our team. Lexi's primary focus at the organization will be in GLCF's Closing and Servicing Department, using her legal expertise to ultimately streamline the closing and funding process.

"At GLCF, we realize getting loans funded as quickly and as accurately as possible is the name of the game. Our lenders want to be paid down as quickly as possible, and in this current rate environment, our borrowers expect to lock in their interest rate as soon as they can. The addition of Lexi and her expertise to our already experienced closing and servicing team will allow us to identify potential issues much more quickly than we have in the past," said Julie.

As always, GLCF will still depend on its experienced outside designated closing counsel to thoroughly review each loan package prior to documents being executed and to ultimately close each loan. However, the work Lexi will be able to do prior to their review will help us to streamline the overall process and allow our organization to better serve the small businesses and lending partners we work with.

Lexi also has extensive data privacy and security knowledge and will be instrumental in helping our organization stay on top of this complicated and ever-changing landscape. Our goal is to ensure we continue to have the appropriate policies and protocols in place to keep our data secure in the ever-changing world of cybersecurity.

Originally from Panama City, FL, Lexi attended Aquinas College and fell in love with the Grand Rapids area. She attained a Law Degree from the University of Notre Dame and relocated back to Grand Rapids upon graduation. Lexi has spent most of her career at Warner Norcross + Judd, mainly in the transactional real estate and data privacy/security divisions. With a strong passion for the community, she sought out GLCF due to its commitment to the growth of Michigan businesses. She is excited to use her skills to help small businesses and local communities thrive. In her free time, Lexi loves to travel, watch baseball, spend time with her family, and be by the water any chance she can. 

Lexi can be reached at (616) 323-1280 or at
SBA Launches the
ALP Express Pilot Program
GLCF is part of SBA's Accredited Lender Program (ALP), which is only awarded to the nation's highest-performing SBA 504 lenders. Currently, out of the 200 Certified Development Companies in the Country, less than 75 CDCs have this status. For years, ALP status has given GLCF the authority to streamline certain functions of the SBA 504 loan process, which increases our speed and efficiency, and it now allows us to participate in SBA's ALP Express Pilot Program.

The ALP Express Program was first introduced in December 2020 as part of the COVID Relief Bill. It took time for SBA to create the rules surrounding the program, and they officially launched it in June of 2022. Because of GLCF's ALP status, under this program, SBA allows us more authority to approve, close, and service qualified 504 loans under $500,000, which is approximately a $1.2 million dollar total project.

Once GLCF determines a project is qualified, the application is then sent to SBA so they can validate eligibility. Because SBA relies more heavily on GLCF to underwrite the loan, it expedites the overall approval process. The intent is to approve loans in half the time and create efficiencies in processing ALL 504 loans, allowing SBA to focus its internal resources on larger, more complex loans.

Currently, due to the nationwide 504 volume, it takes SBA approximately 14 business days to approve a loan. With loans submitted under ALP Express, they are currently being approved in about seven days, or half the time.

At this time, the ALP Express Program is expected to sunset in August of 2023, but there is hope that this program will either be extended or SBA will make the pilot program a permanent enhancement to the 504 loan program.

To learn more about the ALP Express Loan Program, please don't hesitate to get in touch with one of our loan officers:
West Michigan Market

(616) 323-1277
East Michigan Market

(810) 922-3110
Northern Michigan and Lansing Market

(734) 751-6933
Loan Officer & 7(a) Loan Specialist

(616) 323-1270
Featured 504 Funding!
956 W. South Aiport Road
Traverse City, MI 49686
The Red Dresser, a year-round vintage market filled with specially selected and curated items, is a must-visit when exploring the beautiful lakeshore town of Traverse City, Michigan. Owned and operated by Tammy Simerson, and currently features over 30 vendors and offers an ever-changing collection of painted furniture, home accessories, and unique gift items created by local artisans. They also buy vintage furniture that can be refurbished, old windows, old doors, porch posts, railings, and decorative trim. Additionally, The Red Dresser features a Barn Market event that takes place at the Northwestern Michigan Fairgrounds each Spring. They host numerous vintage purveyors, local makers, food trucks, and live music. It has been a wonderful addition to the Traverse City community.

This journey began in 2007 when Simerson drew inspiration for the business idea and found a small storefront in the back of a building. Years later, after the tremendous growth of the business, Tammy found a much larger building for rent and decided it would be the perfect home for The Red Dresser. She agreed with the Landlord that she would purchase the building in five years. Even in the midst of a pandemic, Tammy succeeded in purchasing her dream building for her business with the help of Jeff Rademacher of State Savings Bank and Kelly Schramski at GLCF. Securing a 504 loan allowed her to take advantage of a 10% down payment and the ability to lock in her interest rate for 20 years.

“Financing with the help of the SBA 504 loan program was the only way I was going to be able
to move forward with growing my business,” Tammy shared.

The journey of purchasing a property can prove to be a challenging undertaking. The pandemic’s repercussions slowed the process, but with GLCF’s help, Tammy still meet her goal of purchasing the building within her five year window.

GLCF was amazing. The woman that I had the most interaction with was Michelle Vargo, and she rocked. I felt so comfortable asking her any questions,” Tammy expressed. “You know, I’m a small business owner. I’m not high finance, and I’m not used to doing these kinds of loans.
Michelle made it so easy to ask her anything.”

The Red Dresser has been in business for 15 years and continues to grow and flourish. Tammy
was able to start from a very small location in the back of a building and work her way up to purchasing her very own space. For those wanting to start their own small business, Tammy
offered some words of advice and encouragement:

“It is tough opening a small business. You need to make sure that you talk to other small
business owners and do your own research and due diligence. You will spend way more time with your business than you think, so make sure you love it!”

Tammy is beyond grateful for Great Lakes Commercial Finance and their assistance with
the loan process and she looks forward to The Red Dresser’s continued growth for many years.

To learn more about The Red Dresser, please visit them at 956 W. Airport Road, Traverse City, MI 49686 or
Lender Leader Board

We would like to thank all the lenders that have had loans authorized through GLCF by the SBA in FY 2022. At the end of our current fiscal year (09/30/2022), the lending institution with the most loan approvals will receive GLCF's Lender of the Year Award!