Climate First Bank Awarded Preferred Lender Status

Climate First Bank announces its designation as a preferred lender (PLP) by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

ORLANDO, Fla., April 16, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Climate First Bank, the world’s first FDIC-insured bank founded to combat the climate crisis, today announces that it has been designated as a preferred lender as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Preferred Lender Program. The honor is awarded to a select number of banks that have gone above and beyond to deliver exceptional service in their markets and demonstrate consistency in the processing of their loans. The accolade, which is the highest recognition a lender can receive, affirms the bank’s ability to understand and abide by the policies and procedures of SBA Lending and uphold a successful record in their program.

"Climate First Bank believes in banking with a purpose. We are so proud to have achieved this recognition as it further supports us in our mission towards providing comprehensive, sustainable banking solutions for all," said Ken LaRoe, CEO and Founder of Climate First Bank. "We consistently strive for growth and look forward to seeing how this distinction will enable us to streamline our operations and loan approval processes and continue providing exemplary service supporting small businesses.”

The experienced SBA team at Climate First Bank is made up of industry experts who serve customers nationwide and offer quick approvals, competitive rates and low down payments. This month, the bank welcomed Paul Pickhardt as SVP, Director of Government Guaranteed Lending. He brings an enthusiastic, committed style to the SBA banking process, with an extensive background in manufacturing and operations that has propelled his ability to develop innovative financing options. Paul will be responsible for building out the bank’s SBA lending department team to expertly handle loan origination and portfolio management, as well as implementing policies and procedures in accordance with existing SBA SOPs. His leadership will ensure Climate First Bank continues its commitment to finding the most suitable solutions to meet a business's needs.

"Being designated as a preferred lender as part of the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Preferred Lender Program is a testament to our commitment to empowering small businesses,” said Paul Pickhardt, SVP, Director of Government Guaranteed Lending. “This recognition not only highlights our expertise in facilitating SBA loans but also underscores our dedication to fostering growth and sustainability within our communities."

As an SBA preferred lender, Climate First Bank will be able to offer customers a robust selection of SBA loan products as well as an expedited approval process. Specific benefits for customers include reduced down payments and extended repayment periods. Climate First Bank is continuing to reach significant milestones, as it prepares to exit its regulatory de novo status on June 1, 2024.

Climate First Bank serves personal and business banking customers nationwide. For more information on Climate First Bank, please visit

About Climate First Bank
Climate First Bank is a Certified B Corp, values-based digital community bank offering a complete, full-service portfolio of simple and easy-to-use traditional banking products. These products are powered by technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. In addition to offering standard banking services, the company places a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses committed to sustainability. Eco-conscious customers will find dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help combat the climate crisis. The bank reports annually on its impact in line with corporate social responsibility goals, read the most recent Impact Report here. Member FDIC.

Media Contacts
Sierra Moorman
Uproar PR for Climate First Bank