El Semanario
Posted on 03-16-2012

Solera chairman joins Bennet in Washington

Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet was joined last week by Ron Montoya, chairman of the board at Solera National Bank, in Washington, DC to discuss job creation in the Latino community. Montoya highlighted the important role of community banks within the Latino community at a meeting of the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force. Montoya traveled from Colorado to Washington to join the discussion on Bennet's invitation.
"Ron's work in the Denver Latino community, in support of small business owners and organizations that drive economic growth, makes him uniquely equipped to talk about what we need to do to continue to encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and job creation in Colorado and the rest of the country," Bennet said. "He has a great understanding of economic development. His input and ideas are exactly what Washington needs to hear as we work to ensure that our recovery is sustained and reaches all segments of our communities."
Montoya discussed Solera’s work to support small businesses and economic development and called for regulatory flexibility for small banks as they work with small businesses and community-based organizations and non-profits to create opportunities for job creation.
“We’re trying to be as focused as we can be on servicing and working in the Hispanic community,” Montoya said. “They’re small businesses, small loans, and they do make a difference. If we could make more loans, it would mean more job creation. Every small business, every non-profit with access to capital will create new jobs.”
Latinos have been disproportionately hit hard by the economic downturn. In 2010, the unemployment rate among Hispanics was 12.5 percent, and decreased to 10.5 percent in January 2012.
Montoya also pushed for the Senate to take up and pass a bill that would create more flexibility for small businesses and community banks by increasing the number of shareholders small institutions can have before they have to comply with regulations aimed at larger institutions. The Senate Banking Committee discussed this bill at a hearing last week chaired by Bennet.
In the meeting, which was also attended by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, attendees discussed access to capital and equity, business plan training, fiscal literacy, technical assistance, STEM education and access to community college and four-year college education in the Latino community.
Sandy Gutierrez from the Pueblo Latino Chamber also participated in the discussion, recommended by Colorado U.S. Senator Mark Udall.