Nancy Libersky, a 30-year veteran and the first female Minnesota district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), has retired after nine years.

A Colorado native, Libersky helped small-business owners as executive director of the Southern Colorado Economic Development Community Development Corp. before joining the SBA's Denver office. She worked as a surety bond manager and later as a women's business advocate, mentoring female business owners throughout a six-state region.

In 1994, Libersky was promoted to SBA regional manager of international programs in Minnesota and worked with hundreds of small businesses to export products and services. She was rated a "top performer" for export capital loans and led national efforts.

As Minnesota district director, the office consistently ranked in the top 10 for performance out of 68 district offices in SBA loan guarantees.
In an interview three years ago, Libersky said the SBA exists to help small businesses succeed through capital access. SBA loan guarantees help stimulate bank loans because the guaranteed portion of an SBA loan isn't counted against lending limits.

An SBA guarantee, from 50 to 90%, depending on the loan, limits the bank's potential loss. And many lenders will not ► do ◄ provide a new-business loan without an SBA guarantee."The SBA has made great strides ensuring business capital reaches those that need it the most," Libersky said. "Women, veterans, Hispanics, African-Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Americans and more.

"For example, from fiscal 2011 to 2016, our [operating] loans increased by 65 percent for Hispanic Americans, 45 percent to African-Americans, 44 percent to Asian-Americans, 33.8 percent to women-owned businesses and 12.9 percent to veterans."

The SBA guarantees more than $700 million in Minnesota loans annually, ranging from microloans of $16,000 to real estate loans that average more than $350,000.

"SBA loans perform better than conventional loans because before the bank submits the application to SBA, the bank approves it internally, just as it would a conventional loan," Libersky said. "Our processing center reviews the application again to ensure the requirements are met, data is correct and that financial information and the business is sound. The bank then offers a longer term and lower rate through our program."

As district director, Libersky was paid about $150,000 annually, according to the SBA.