Randy Griffin was 10 months out of college when he was hired as the sole employee of CSRA Business Lending in 1987. At that time, the loan program was facing decertification.
His brief post-college experience working as a loan collector in Aiken helped CSRA Business Lending get back on track. A quarter-century later, the company is a self-sustaining business with a four-person staff.
“When I got here in ’87, they had made 11 loans for right at $700,000,” said Griffin, the president of CSRA Business Lending. “We have grown that to several hundred-million.”
CSRA Business Lending was created by the CSRA Regional Commission in 1979. It works primarily with local community banks and has lending agreements with the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture and the Small Business Administration.
Griffin and his brother were the first two members of their family to go to college. He majored in finance at Georgia Southern University, where he played on the football team.
The son of a military officer, Griffin said he was inspired to work hard by his father. He was born in Columbus, Ga., when his dad was stationed at Fort Benning. Griffin went to high school in Macon.
Living in several cities across Georgia helped make business connections that led to the growth of CSRA Business Lending, Griffin said. His early years with the company were spent handling referrals from the business community, banks and economic development agencies.
CSRA Business Lending offers low down payments and fixed rates that small-business people often cannot get when they walk into a bank, Griffin said. The company works with startup businesses or more established businesses that are growing inventory or adding employees.
“Often times, the structure of a loan is better for them to work with us,” he said.
Griffin said his work shows him the “optimistic side of the country.” He enjoys helping small-business people that take significant risks and work hard day and night.
CSRA Business Lending’s SBA-504 program has helped finance local restaurants including Rhinehart’s Oyster Bar, Steak ’n Shake and WifeSaver, PEAK Rehabilitation and the new Kendrick Paint and Body location in Evans.