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Americas United Bank, an Opportunity
for Small to Mid Size Businesses


Interview with Gil Dalmau, President and CEO

JESUS HERNANDEZ CUELLAR

Current credit crunch is negatively affecting many businesses that need working capital, funds to buy commercial real estate or to develop new projects. News from the financial sector show U.S. banks in critical conditions amid the worst recession we have ever seen since the Great Depression. However, a Hispanic-owned bank located in Glendale, California, is living a different experience.

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Americas United Bank has been built specifically to serve the banking needs of small- and medium-sized businesses, entrepreneurs, and professionals with a specialized emphasis on serving the Hispanic business and professional communities. Its mission statement states that the bank's goals are expanding depth and breadth of relationships; engineering creative solutions for clients; and attracting, retaining, developing, and rewarding professional staff.

AUB's President and CEO, Gil Dalmau, tells Contacto Magazine the story of this bank that has an executive management and board of directors with a combined 160+ years of banking and finance experience.

JHC.- How is Americas United Bank performing during the current economic downturn?

DALMAU.- Despite the economic downturn Americas United Bank (AUB) continues to report record growth and is well-positioned to take advantage of market opportunities brought about by the economic impact of its many competitors.

The bank has plenty of capital, liquidity, and a strong balance sheet with minimal non-performing loans. As such, the bank continues to provide financing for small to mid size businesses and professionals in the community.

JHC.- As you know, according to the Census Bureau, there are 250,000 companies in Los Angeles county, 20% Hispanic-owned companies. The Census also found two million Hispanic-owned companies, old data, in the United States . How can AUB help the business community deal with the recession?

DALMAU.- AUB has highly experienced bankers that pride themselves in providing solutions to meet the ever growing needs of the local small business community with a primary focus in the Hispanic business community.

AUB bankers take a consultative approach with their clients and strive to add value for the business owners by helping them assess the financial strengths and weaknesses of their business which helps in determining the action plans to move the business forward during these difficult economic times.

AUB also stands ready to provide the financing and/or cash management products needed by businesses to maximize their cash flow to not only survive, but to grow and take advantage of market opportunities.

JHC.- The Conference Board released a report on April that shows a significant increase in the Consumer Confidence Index, 39.2 (1985=100) up from 26.9 in March. The Present Situation Index increased to 23.7 from 21.9 last month. The Expectations Index rose to 49.5 from 30.2 in March. Does it mean that small and mid-size businesses will see higher sales soon?

DALMAU.- Although there are some economic indicators that are improving, it’s still too early to tell if the worst is over. Although improving, these indicators remain at depressed levels and there still remains a lot of uncertainty in the market.

It would be wise to plan operations at reduced sales levels and if sales exceed targets, then be surprised on the upside.

JHC.- What should an operating business do at this very moment in order to survive?

DALMAU.- To survive, businesses must look to reduce expenses to a level that attempts to maintain at least a break even position in the reduced sales volume and must take a hard look at the cash inflows and outflows of the business to ensure sufficient cash flow is maintained to operate the business.

JHC.- Is this a good time for start-ups? What should they do to find working capital?

DALMAU.- As to start-up businesses, it really depends on the industry whether it makes sense to launch a new business in this economy. The good news is you already know that we’re in a difficult economy. The bad news is that it’s more difficult to raise start-up capital or financing in this market.

Editor's Note.- For further information, please visit Americas United Bank on the Internet.

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Gil Dalmau

Gil Dalmau, Americas United Bank's President and CEO.