Jude Hamel provides financing to businesses and helps business owners access one-on-one support to help their small businesses in Grafton and Carroll Counties achieve sustainability and success. She joined NCIC in November 2006 and has more than fourteen years of experience in community economic development finance. Prior to joining NCIC, Jude was director of lending at the Capital Regional Development Council (CRDC) in Concord, NH, and also served as a commercial loan officer for the Vermont Community Loan Fund (VCLF) in Montpelier, VT.
Jude was born and raised in a rural, agricultural area of Vermont. While pursuing a liberal arts degree she studied the intersections of race, class and gender issues and found that economic issues resonated with her because of the lack of economic resources and opportunities that she saw in her area when she was growing up. She started to understand that people’s choices in life can be limited by economic circumstance. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, she got involved in the business side of a non-profit organization and found that she enjoyed it. She joined the VCLF because she liked the idea of providing small, growing businesses with “access to capital.” While at VCLF, she earned a master’s degree in community economic development with a focus on economic development finance from Southern New Hampshire University, and was able to apply her learning on the job.
One of Jude’s specialties is structuring financing packages under the US Small Business Administration’s Certified Development Company (504) Loan Program. This program is available to businesses interested in purchasing commercial real estate, constructing a new facility, renovating or expanding an existing facility, or purchasing machinery and equipment. Through her past experience at the CRDC, she learned the technical aspects of providing business loans using this federal loan program.
At NCIC, Jude is the go-to person for 504 loan assistance. She helped the owner of Oliver’s Drugs, an independent drugstore in Plymouth, NH, get a 504 loan to purchase real estate for his business. The owner had been leasing space from Speare Memorial Hospital in Plymouth, but had an opportunity to purchase a condo in a new building. “The bank could only provide a portion of the project financing and referred their customer to NCIC for a 504 loan on the remaining amount,” said Jude. “I worked with him to get the 504 loan and now the store is in a beautiful space and is doing well. There aren’t many independent drugstores around these days. It’s rewarding for me to help a company that is providing a needed service to the community.”
Jude recalled another memorable loan project that came about after she started working at NCIC six years ago. “A woman wanted to open a breakfast/lunch place in Franconia, NH, and had already called a long list of financial institutions for assistance. She was really passionate about her business, had done her homework, and had developed a business plan. I encouraged her to complete a loan application and send me her business plan,’ said Jude. “She was overcome with emotion. She said NCIC was the last phone number on her list, and we were the only ones who gave her hope!” NCIC financed her business – Wendle’s Delicatessen and Café – and now, after 5+ years, she has paid off her loans and is thriving. “Wendle’s has become a gathering place in Franconia – everyone goes there! She had a clear vision and we helped her get started, but she made it happen,” said Jude.
Working at NCIC has been rewarding for Jude in many ways. “I like working with numbers and structuring loans, but the best part for me is meeting with owners and learning about their businesses. Every day I learn something new.”