First Southwest Bank (FSWB), a locally-owned, independent community bank serving Southern and rural Colorado, recently received the Spirit of Alamosa Award from the Alamosa Chamber of Commerce.
The inaugural award is given to a business or organization that has contributed a high level of time, skills and/or resources to the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce and the community of Alamosa.
In 2022 and 2021, the U.S. Small Business Administration named FSWB Community/Rural Lender of the Year and the SBA’s #1 Colorado-based lender.
Through 2020 and 2021 and the pandemic, FSWB made 153 PPP loans to Alamosa County businesses, injecting $10.6 million into Alamosa County, and $9.2 million into 191 businesses in surrounding Conejos, Costilla, Rio Grande, and Saguache counties.
In 2021, FSWB remained a steady and loyal partner to the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce sponsoring numerous events and activities, including six months of Chamber luncheons that facilitated community networking and learning about business resources. The bank also sponsored the Chamber’s 2021 Oktoberfest.
In 2021, bank and community fund staff donated time and expertise to the community, serving as Board Members for various organizations, including the Chamber, Alamosa’s local economic development organization, Adams State Grizzly Club Board and the Chamber’s Young Professionals of Alamosa.
“We are grateful to have received the 2022 Spirit of Alamosa Award from the Alamosa County Chamber of Commerce. It is the extraordinary effort of our staff that made this happen. They stepped up in incredible ways. Staff expertise, time, and determination helped Alamosa and San Luis Valley businesses not just survive, but thrive,” said Kent Curtis, First Southwest Bank’s CEO & President. “We look forward to another year of dedication to providing access to capital to rural Colorado’s agricultural and small business community.”
Thai Hut was one of the Alamosa businesses that received support from First Southwest Bank. Owner Siri Vienna was forced to quickly adapt her business model during the pandemic. She pivoted from a brick and mortar restaurant to a food truck and received support from FSWB’s Paycheck Protection Program and the bank’s non-profit partner, the First Southwest Community Fund’s Rural Women-Led Business Fund. These resources enabled her to stay in business during difficult times. Today, she is in a new location and business is thriving.
“Like all businesses, hidden expenses pop up from time to time, and it’s critical to have access to credit or emergency funding when disaster strikes. First Southwest Bank and First Southwest Community Fund were my lifelines during the pandemic,” said Siri Vienna, Thai Hut’s Owner. “I will be forever grateful to First Southwest Bank for being a bank that focuses on the local community.”
The Spirit of Alamosa and other Member Appreciation Awards were presented by the Alamosa Chamber of Commerce at the Art Gala 2022 on May 20. For more information on the Member Appreciation Awards, including the full list of winners, visit the Alamosa Chamber of Commerce website.