As Small Business Week came to a close, Wells Fargo was awarded 7(a) large loan lender of the year for 2012 with more than $1.24 billion in loans, supporting 37,000 jobs. The Small 7(a) lender of the year was shared by Village Bank & Trust of Des Plaines, IL and Eastern Bank of Boston, MA. Eastern Bank focused on under-served markets making 207 loans, supporting 2,297 jobs, to earn the recognition from the SBA. "SBA's mission in support of small business encompasses much more than financial assistance and includes opportunities for investing and all kinds of entrepreneurial support. Our partners in these important areas are crucial to the success of our mission," said SBA Administrator Karen Mills. "We at the SBA are proud of that partnership and pleased to honor these award winners for their role in helping small businesses startup, grow and succeed." Because Eastern Bank is part of the Lendio network of small business lenders, Brock Blake, Lendio Founder and CEO said, "Eastern Bank is one of those community banks that just gets it. They understand how important Main Street businesses are to local communities and they always seem to be looking for new ways to provide value to their customers. Their lending efforts online are just one of the ways they are working to set the standard for community banking. We couldn't be happier to work with such a forward-thinking lender. They absolutely deserve the recognition." We'd like to congratulate all the lenders recognized by the SBA. The single biggest challenge faced by most small business owners is finding access to the capital they need to thrive and grow. I don't think there's any question that small business drives the economies of local communities. And, small business lending fuels small business growth.