Kathy Wester, Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager of Idaho First Bank, has been named MoFi’s Idaho Small Business Lender of the Year for 2018. MoFi presents these awards annually to its most prolific commercial lender partners, those individuals who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to meeting the needs of business owners in their communities.
Many successful businesses struggle to get the financing they need to grow. Wester is recognized for helping connect Treasure Valley entrepreneurs with a resource to do just that – flexible, responsible capital that sees them through short-term growth needs and prepares them for a longer-term bank loan.
Wester has more than 23 years of experience in banking in the Treasure Valley and joined Idaho First Bank in 2015. She has gained vast experience and knowledge in her field from her prior employment with large and small financial institutions. Kathy enjoys being actively involved with nonprofits in her community and has served as both an Ambassador and on the Board of Directors of the Eagle Chamber of Commerce. She was recognized by her community and named Eagle Business Person of the Year in 2005, and was just recognized this April at the 26th year annual TWIN awards event for 2019 as an Honoree TWIN (Tribute to Women and Industry).
Among the Boise-area businesses Wester has helped connect with MoFi is Little Kitchen Pastries. Last year, owners John and Kay Fernandes needed additional help to restructure their business capital, and Wester brought MoFi in to partner on the project. Little Kitchen Pastries is proud to continue offering their made-from-scratch baked goods on Main Street in Meridian.
“Working with Kathy has been great – she really listens to us instead of just putting in 30 minutes and she goes the extra mile,” said John Fernandes of Little Kitchen Pastries. “She’ll work with the small business people who need a little extra help and will show them how to get to the next level.”
Wester also helped chef Paul Faucher with his start-up restaurant, Grit2C, in downtown Caldwell. “Kathy and the MoFi team were a great resource in the business development phase of Grit2C,” said Paul. “Kathy was supportive and available to analyze all the details of the project. I enjoyed working with her on this successful restaurant and look forward to working with her again on future endeavors.”
“As a Relationship Commercial Banker, I am always seeking the best solutions for my clients and MoFi has been a very valuable resource to partner with,” Wester said. “The team at MoFi have the same passion and vision I do for the small businesses they work with. It is good to know that when I refer a client to MoFi they will receive the tools and education to help put them in line for bank financing in the future.”
MoFi is a nonprofit community-based lender that provides flexible, responsible capital to businesses that fall outside of traditional “bankability” at a moment in time. Many of the organization’s clients are referred via commercial lenders when they are unable to provide financing, in whole or in part. MoFi works with clients to design tailored loan solutions, including loan size, type of loan structure and uses. The organization also provides a full suite of consulting services to clients to help them build successful businesses and transfer to a long-term bank relationship as quickly as possible.
In 2018, MoFi provided over $100 million in financing to businesses across the Northern Rockies.
“Time and time again, Kathy has demonstrated her commitment to helping her clients by working with partners like MoFi to get to ‘yes’ for her clients. We were thrilled to see how Kathy went above and beyond last year in connecting borrowers with us to help them get the financing they need,” said Dave Glaser, President and CEO of MoFi. “We’re proud to name her our Idaho Small Business Lender of the Year.”
Above: Ben Wright, MoFi’s Director of Asset Management, presents the award to Kathy Wester of Idaho First Bank.