Alliance “Get To Know Us” Spotlight: LaKisha Gant, Senior Vice President, Commercial Real Estate Lending

Welcome to our Spotlight series where we highlight members of our new enterprise with Capital Impact Partners.

Earlier this year we announced the formation of our exciting new enterprise that united Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance under a single strategy and leadership team.

We believe that in order to ensure that traditional and mainstream financial systems are equitably serving Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous communities to drive solutions that support economic mobility and wealth creation, we must think differently. This series is designed to introduce you to the many people who are working hard to drive change and create a powerful new voice for communities and small businesses.

In this Spotlight, meet LaKisha Gant. LaKisha is our Senior Vice President of Commercial Real Estate Lending. 

LaKisha is responsible for oversight of the Small Business Administration 504 lending program for CDC Small Business Finance. This program helps small business owners receive financing to buy, construct or improve commercial real estate or to purchase heavy equipment. 

Take a moment to watch the video or read the transcript below to learn more about LaKisha’s background, her role, and some fun facts!

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about your role?

A: My role is the senior vice president of commercial real estate. I have the honor of operating our 504 program in conjunction with Tony Barengo and Armen Madatyan. And basically we oversee our 504 loan product, our Morgan Stanley First Trust Deed loan product, as well as our Impower loan product. 

Q:  What excites you about our new enterprise?

A: I would say everything. The new enterprise allows us to – not only for CDC Small Business Finance, but for Capital Impact Partners as well – it allows us to provide more products and more services to more businesses across a larger network.

Q: How does commercial real estate ownership add value for small business owners?

A: It adds a lot of value for multiple reasons. Not only does it provide a permanent place for the business, it also helps to create generational wealth. It gives the borrower something they can pass down to their family members. It helps create jobs in the local communities and it also gives them access to additional capital. 

Q: Why is the SBA 504 loan such a critical piece of economic development?

A: The SBA (Small Business Administration) 504 loan is critical because it allows the borrower to get into commercial real estate without exhausting their capital. So, typically when a borrower is going to buy a commercial real estate, the down payment on there could be anywhere from 20 to 30 percent. Whereas with the SBA 504 loan, the down payment is 10 percent. That allows the borrower to reinvest that additional capital into the business, into creating jobs, expanding their product line or services, just provides them with more opportunities. Not only that, our loan is a fixed-rate loan for 10, 20, or 25 years; it’s very low interest rate, so it gives the borrower as well an additional opportunity to continue to generate and maintain the capital within the business.

Q: What is an ideal weekend for you, LaKisha?

A: An ideal weekend for me is just spending time with my daughter. My sons are off to college now, so it’s just me and her. So, just getting in the car, we like to drive, do a little shopping. Sometimes we’ll take a trip. So it’s been a great opportunity for me to just spend a lot of time with her: she’s 12. So it’s a critical moment. Critical age for her as well.

Q: What was your first job?

A: My first job was, so you know how they have model homes and people are holding signs pointing you towards the model homes. So, that was my first job. It was in Temecula. I had to wear a cloud outfit and would be standing on this corner, dancing with a sign for about four hours in three-digit heat. I was 14, but I made $12 an hour. So, I really thought, you know, I was doing something.

Q: So, that was still under the umbrella of real estate.

A: Yeah, exactly. I started early.