If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at Duke’s Diesel Repair, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city!
This week, we’re joined by Mary Kerner, the CEO of Rural Nevada Development Corporation (RNDC). For twenty-eight years, this private non-profit has been helping rural Nevada businesses go from non-bankable to bankable! In their nearly three decades of work, they have accrued a loan portfolio of twenty-four million dollars, with over fourteen hundred jobs created or retained!
Specifically, for Elko County, RNDC has helped fund fifty-two local businesses at over four million dollars in loans. This has led to three hundred and forty-four local jobs being created and retained! Some of these businesses are community-loved establishments that many of us would most certainly recognize. These businesses include everything from coffee shops and restaurants to construction companies and medical facilities! RNDC very well may be one of the best-kept secrets around!
And leading this organization’s charge is their CEO, and our guest, Mary. She has worked for RNDC for the past eighteen years, holding the CEO position for the last four. So, needless to say, she’s one of the best people we could have gotten to chat about this marvelous non-profit!
Thank you so much for joining us this week, Mary! Before we learn a little more about your history with the corporation, can you please go into a little more detail as to what the goals and vision of RNDC are? Some of our readers may need your partnership sooner than later, so who are you all, and what exactly do you do?
“RNDC is a non-traditional lender. We are not regulated the same way as conventional lenders, so we have a bit more flexibility. We help with anything from start-ups to expansions. We help with debt refinancing, inventory, and have a great housing program as well! We’ve even had well-seasoned entrepreneurs come to us when they feel like they just need to try something different. We can get creative with how we can help people.
“We have more flexible terms than conventional lenders; however, we do have higher rates compared to something like a bank because we’re taking on higher risks deals. With that being said, we have a less than one percent default rate, portfolio wide. It is not because we don’t have problems with some of our borrows, it’s because we have more leeway to work with them! They’re not just a loan number to us; they’re a person. We really try to be as supportive as we can.”
Wonderful! Now, what led to you getting involved with the organization?
“I was born and raised in rural Nevada, so my heart has always been for our rural areas. I love helping people; I come from a service-oriented family. I worked at a bank for eight years and found myself getting away from supporting the customers. I got into management, and that involved overseeing the daily facets of what was going on, and I just missed helping the people. So, when a position opened with this non-profit that helped people realize their business ideas, goals, and dreams, I decided I wanted to do that instead. And I love it! I think when you’re passionate about what you do, it makes a huge difference! I am definitely enthusiastic about economic development in Rural Nevada!”
Fantastic! We here at AAT are always excited to spotlight individuals and groups that are all about helping others. So, thank you! Now, since RNDC provides services to all of the rural areas in the state, that means you spend a lot of time on the road! Therefore, we won’t keep you much longer, but is there anything else you’d like to share with us before we let you go?
“If anybody has any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us! We never think anybody’s wasting our time; we want to have these conversations. We want to help. We really do! That’s where our passion is, and that’s what drives all of this! We are a huge resource, and I wish more people would utilize us! We believe in small business and rural America!”
If you, a friend, or a loved ones’ business has been impacted by Covid-19, RNDC is managing a loan fund for Nevada Gold Mines called, the I-80 Fund. Please see the document below for more information and contact their office today!
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See you around, Elko!