In accepting the 2020 Business of the Year award from the Durango Chamber of Commerce, Kent Curtis, CEO, First Southwest Bank said, "I'm so proud of our outstanding staff at First Southwest Bank and First Southwest Community Fund whose hard work in 2020 earned us this award. We are a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) with a mission to serve the un- and under-banked, address financial inequities, and grow our communities. We believe that many of our deposit and loan customers bank with us because of this mission. We are so fortunate to be in Durango, yet it is all our staff from Cortez to Alamosa that put in the incredibly long hours to help small businesses during an incredibly challenging time. They all believe in our mission and our business model and are creative and far-reaching individuals. Thank you. This award is all of ours!"
Brian Lundstrum, Chamber Board President, Sky Ute Casino & Resort, introduced the nomination by saying, “First Southwest Bank is a locally-owned bank with branches throughout Southern and Southwestern Colorado. It’s the only bank in southwestern Colorado and the four corners region to be designated as a Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI), helping build strong communities in rural Colorado. First Southwest Bank has a unique business model. Through their partnership with the First Southwest Community fund, they can provide loans and grants to businesses and entrepreneurs across rural Colorado not traditionally eligible. Although community gatherings and events were often postponed or canceled in 2020, they still found many opportunities to give back to the inspiring organizations and nonprofits that align with their values and mission. Together with the First Southwest Community Fund, they’ve supported nearly 1,300 businesses, and invested $63 million in grants and loans. This retained more than 8,600 existing jobs and created 113 new jobs. First Southwest Bank was a leader in PPP loans, processing more than 800 applications in just the first round alone - providing assistance and guidance to many local businesses. For their efforts, they were also awarded the Small Business Administration Colorado’s 2020 Community/Rural Lender of the Year.”
Jack Llewellyn, Executive Director, Durango Chamber of Commerce said, “As the only bank in the Four Corners region with a CDFI designation, First Southwest Bank offers unique economic opportunities to communities, businesses, and individuals who aren’t served by the mainstream banking system. First Southwest Bank has made a lasting impact on the Durango-area community and southwestern Colorado, and the Durango Chamber of Commerce is honored to recognize First Southwest Bank as the 2020 Business of the Year.”
Watch the award presentation here.