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Christopher & Associates expands in Seymour with SBA 504 funding from First Financial Bank and Indiana Statewide CDC
A strong demand for psychological and drug counseling in rural south-central Indiana is contributing to the growth of Christopher and Associates Evaulation and Counseling Center in Seymour.

Dr. Jill Christopher started Christopher and Assocates as a solo private practice in 2001 in Seymour, her hometown. She expanded her practice several times in subsequent years. This year, Dr. Christopher built a new office and clinical location in Seymour with financing from the U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loan program through First Financial Bank and the Indiana Statewide Certified Development Corporation.

Dr. Christopher says, "Our practice now consists of three psychologists, 11 master's level therapists, and two doctoral level practicum students. We provide outpatient counseling and psychological evaluations for children and adults. In addition, our new facility gives us room to begin new programs including substance abuse treatment, which is a significant need in our community."

Indiana Statewide CDC works with local lenders to provide SBA 504 loans to owners of small businesses. SBA 504 loans can give small business owners long-term, fixed rate financing similar to commercial loan terms available for large companies.

Indiana Statewide CDC has invested over $494 million in more than 1,110 Indiana companies since 1983, creating or saving 27,000 jobs. Indiana Statewide CDC is the most prolific CDC in Indiana.

Dr. Christopher says, "The SBA 504 loan has allowed me to build a beautiful new facility, grow my business by adding therapists and directly address the needs of our community." Christopher and Associates Evaluation and Counseling Center serves patients in Jackson County (where Seymour is located) and Jennings, Scott, Bartholomew, Lawrence, Monroe, Washington, Ripley and Jefferson counties.

She and two colleagues founded a second business, Foundations Dyslexia and Learning Centers, whose Seymour location is housed in her new building. It evaluates individuals to determine if they have dyslexia and tutors children and adults with dyslexia.

Dr. Christopher says, "I am thankful and appreciative for this loan. Without it, I would not have been able to expand my companies and provide needed services to individuals in our community. Indiana Statewide CDC and First Financial Bank were always very helpful and prompt in responding to my questions."

Ladonna Sweitzer of First Financial Bank says, "Dr. Christopher has a passion for what she does and she has become a trusted member of her community. Christopher & Associates Evaluation and Counseling Center is a successful business that simply outgrew its space. The SBA 504 program's low down payment and fixed, 20-year interest rate helps Dr. Christopher plan her budget and keep more operating capital in her business to fund this crucial expansion period."

Since Congress created the 504 program, SBA 504 loans have funded over $62 billion to more than 130,000 small businesses. In turn, those small firms have created or retained over 2.1 million jobs for the U.S. economy.

Indiana Statewide CDC Executive Director Jean Wojtowicz says, "SBA 504 loans are effective because borrowing companies can put as little as 10 percent down and receive a low, fixed interest rate for as long as 20 years. The SBA guarantees bonds sold privately to finance a portion of the loan. With the guarantee, we can offer loan rates more favorable than conventional commercial financing."

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