Latina Banker Selected By Obama To Lead Small Business Agency

February 13th, 2014 by James

Maria Contreras-Sweet was nominated by U.S. President Barack Obama to lead the Small Business Administration, an agency providing loans and assistance to small businesses for getting government contracts.

Latina Banker Selected By Obama To Lead Small Business Agency

The selection of 58-year-old Maria Contreras-Sweet fills the final slot in the president’s second-term Cabinet as the post of SBA administrator has been vacant since August, when Karen Mills accepted joint posts at Harvard Business School and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Gary Toebben, president and chief executive of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, said Contreras-Sweet “is highly regarded in Los Angeles and throughout the state of California.” “She is articulate and passionate about helping small businesses,” Toebben said.

“She understands the needs of small business owners like herself. She knows how they can lift entire communities, and ultimately how they lift our country,” Obama said while making the announcement at the White House.

Maria is the second Hispanic nominated to Obama’s second-term cabinet after Labor Secretary Tom Perez. She is the founder of ProAmerica Bank, a Latino-owned community bank in Los Angeles, which emphasizes on lending to small- and medium-sized Latino businesses.

“Maria knows how hard it is to get started on a business, the grueling hours, the stress, the occasional self-doubt – although I have not yet seen self-doubt out of Maria,” Obama said.

Contreras-Sweet immigrated to the United States as a child and was California’s secretary of business, transportation and housing in the Democratic administration of Gray Davis.

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