SomerCor, a Chicago-based Small Business Administration (SBA) Certified Development Company (CDC), has appointed Manuel “Manny” Flores as president and chief executive officer. Flores takes the reins at SomerCor after serving two years as a member of the nonprofit lender’s board of directors. Flores brings a unique blend of public and private sector experience and leadership to the role.
“Manny offers a transformative vision for SomerCor that promises to build our bench strength in SBA 504 lending and expand our reach to more small business owners from more walks of life—particularly women, minority and veteran owned businesses,” said Margy Sweeney, a member of the executive committee of the SomerCor board of directors. “We are happy to enrich our partnerships with the Midwest banking and credit union communities by bringing someone with Manny’s depth of experience as a financial services professional, attorney, public servant and lifelong advocate for entrepreneurs.”
Flores recently led all communications, marketing and business development as chief strategy officer for Glass Mountain Capital LLC, a national accounts receivables firm. He also practiced law at Kelleher & Buckley, LLC as of counsel and at Arnstein & Lehr, LLP as partner, where his role included representing financial institutions on regulatory matters. Flores served in the Chicago City Council with distinction as Alderman of the 1st Ward, and went on to lead the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation as director and acting secretary, where he regulated and supervised state-chartered banks and credit unions.
Flores has a strong background in economic development; he sits on the Cook County Economic Development Advisory Committee and is a member of the board of directors of the Small Business Advisory Council of Illinois, where he advances policies and initiatives to grow small businesses and strengthen the state’s entrepreneurial environment.
“I am honored and humbled to have been selected by my fellow board members to lead SomerCor. Our team is committed to building on our long track record of success, because we know our continued focus on achieving operational excellence, creating an engaging and best-in-class experience for borrowers and customers, and providing exceptional support and service to our lending partners will grow SomerCor’s reach and impact,” said Flores. “SomerCor is a mission-oriented, social impact enterprise that is poised for an exciting new chapter of growth as a leading, national CDC.”
Flores is also active in social engagement and philanthropy; he sits on the board of trustees of Dominican University, is a member of the boards of directors of ChildServ and the Environmental Law and Policy Center, and is a member of the Advocate Aurora Health care governance council. Flores earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Dominican University, and a juris doctor from The George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He has been a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow since 2009.
Founded in 1992, SomerCor provides capital to entrepreneurs throughout Illinois with a mission of business growth and job creation by offering SBA 504 loans in partnership with banks, credit unions and other lending institutions. As part of a broader economic development vision, SomerCor also facilities and processes Community Advantage loans and administers the City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) grants. SomerCor is ranked a Top 25 National CDC for SBA 504 loans and is Chicago’s largest 504 loan provider. It holds and services a loan portfolio in excess of $487 million, comprised of more than 965 loans to Illinois entrepreneurs.