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

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

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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About Lake Michigan Credit Union

Lake Michigan Credit Union, established in 1933, is the largest credit union in Michigan and 16th largest in the country. Employing a staff of over 1,650 and serving nearly 600,000 members, LMCU's assets exceed $13 billion, with over $16 billion in portfolio and serviced mortgages. LMCU has 70 convenient branch locations, including 21 across the Tampa Bay area and Southwest Florida. LMCU members have access to over 55,000 Allpoint ATMs worldwide. LMCU provides a full range of financial services, from high interest-bearing checking accounts to personal loans, mortgages, business banking, commercial loans, and insurance. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender. NMLS #442967.

About SBA’s Export & Working Capital Programs 

The SBA maintains a suite of three export loan programs designed to aid small businesses expanding internationally. The SBA’s flagship export program is the Export Working Capital Program (EWCP), an asset-based credit line that can support both purchase order and receivable financing. The International Trade Loan (ITL) is a 7(a) program that can support export capacity building and the reshoring of production. Finally, the Export Express program is a compliment to the SBA Express program which is positioned to support quick access to small-dollar financing needs. Additional details on the SBA’s export loan programs can be found at

About the U.S. Small Business Administration
The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start and grow their businesses. It delivers services to people through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit

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Media Contact:

Don Bratt

Chief Marketing Officer | Senior VP of Marketing

(616) 242-9774 or (616) 295-4391

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