Zions Bank marks quarter century milestone as Utah’s top small business lender

Known for its resident cats who lounge on its shelves, iconic Dolly’s Bookstore on Park City’s Main Street has steadily grown its sales and has increased its part-time employee count, with help from a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) loan approved by Zions Bank.

During the same period, family-owned Prime Machine has grown from a handful to 100 employees, expanded globally and added new lines of business. 

Both small firms received SBA 7(a) loans from Zions Bank in the early 1990s. They are among hundreds of businesses supported by Zions Bank over the course of its 25 consecutive years as the top provider of U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans in the Utah District.

“My vision from the start was to be a large company,” says Doug Murray, CEO of Prime Machine in Salt Lake City. “Zions Bank has allowed us to purchase new equipment when we’ve needed it to grow.” Established in 1979, Prime Machine manufactures, rebuilds and trouble-shoots mechanical equipment. Initially the company served utility, oil and gas, and power industries. Over the decades, it has expanded to serve chemical and aerospace industries, and has added a field servicing business line.

Kathy Pederson, owner of Dolly’s Bookstore, realized her dream of entrepreneurship with help from Zions Bank’s financing.

“I don’t think, without the SBA loan, that I could’ve afforded opening the bookstore,” Pederson says. “I was young, out of college, and had just come here. With Zions’ help, we have been able to grow the business and grow the economy and hire people. It’s been a win-win for both of us.”

During the SBA’s fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2018, Zions Bank approved 207 SBA 7(a) loans in the district, totaling more than $38.8 million and representing 20 percent of the 997 SBA-backed loans approved in Utah.

Capital provided through Zions Bank’s loans to Utah businesses allowed them to grow so that they could hire 547 new employees and maintain 1,119 positions in 2018, according to SBA data. Fifty-two percent of loans approved this year by Zions were to women- and minority-owned businesses. The average SBA loan amount approved by the bank was $188,000.

“We often talk about small businesses being a key sector, and refer to them internally as our bank’s ‘bread and butter.’ This quarter-century milestone as Utah’s top SBA lender demonstrates that we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs as they create jobs and fuel our economy over the long term,” said Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson.

In Idaho, Zions Bank approved 83 SBA 7(a) loans in 2018, totaling $12.5 million, marking 17 consecutive years as the Boise District’s top lender.