Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: An Interview with Miriam Torres Baltys, Senior Loan Officer
By CDC Small Business Finance Marketing
Meet Senior Small Business Loan Officer Miriam Torres Baltys, whose passion for serving small businesses and her roots in the Latinx community come full circle in her role at CDC Small Business Finance (CDC).
Early October signifies the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. So, all month long, we will celebrate and share stories about Latinx leaders like Miriam Torres Baltys and the economic impact of Hispanic small business borrowers at CDC.
Q: Miriam, can you tell us about your role at CDC? What do you do?
A: I am a Senior Loan Officer at CDC Small Business Finance – part of the Momentus Capital family of organizations, including Capital Impact Partners and Ventures Lending Technologies. I’ve been with CDC since 2018 and have held many roles in the finance industry over the last 20 years.
My role at CDC is my favorite because I can make a big difference in the lives of small business owners. By helping people with the loan process, I get to be a part of positively impacting families, our local community, and our economy.
Q: When did you first become involved in the finance industry?
A: I entered the finance industry right before the 2008 recession when the mortgage industry was booming, and job competition was tough. When I applied for a temp job as an Assistant to a Loan Processor, the hiring manager said I had six months to earn a permanent role. I work well under pressure and am a little competitive, so in the end, I got the job. I became a permanent employee, and the rest is history!
Q: Can you share a bit more about your background and experiences?
A: I am a naturalized citizen. I was born in Tecate, Mexico, and lived there until I was three years old, then moved to California. I grew up in a low-income area in Escondido, CA, which wasn’t easy back then since gangs were rampant.
One defining moment for me was when a middle-class friend said, “I don’t think you’re ever going to go to college or will move out of here.” That hurt, but it lit a fire in me to succeed. After attending a few college classes, a door was opened to the finance industry, and I was motivated and hungry to learn and grow. I started making six figures and soon fell in love with helping small business owners — especially those with barriers to reaching their financial goals.
Q: What are your favorite aspects of your Hispanic Heritage?
A: My favorite aspect of being Hispanic is everything my culture offers, including hard-working honorable people with good manners and respect for authority and the elderly. People who love music, love God, art, food, and, most importantly, family.
We use delicious tortillas in various ways: tacos, flautas, nachos, quesadillas, chilaquiles, and burritos. Need I say more? We are creative people!
Q: How does your Hispanic Heritage impact your work with CDC, particularly with entrepreneurs who have not always been supported to achieve their dreams?
A: My Hispanic Heritage impacts my work, identity, and every area of my life as a whole, as a woman, as an employee at CDC Small Business Finance, as a mom, as a friend, and as a member of my community. I am a Latina, I am Hispanic, and I am a citizen of the United States.
I know what it’s like not to be born to middle-class parents. I know what it is to work hard and earn everything you have. I understand first-hand the struggles, and barriers business owners face, and I want them to know they can overcome challenges and be rewarded.
Whenever I help a Hispanic man or woman by speaking in their primary language or helping build a “road map” for their loan application, I know I am making a difference. Incredibly, I get to be a part of a family creating wealth for the first time or education for themselves and opportunities for future generations.
Q: What motivates you to stay committed to small business owners and their loan processes?
A: I’m mindful of my personal experience as I help others. As a single mom, I applied for a home mortgage loan about ten years ago and was declined without reason. I was left disheartened and frustrated – but I didn’t give up.
I asked friends and colleagues for help, and I connected with a different Mortgage Loan Officer who explained why I was declined. He gave me a “road map,” and I purchased my first home six months later. As a single mother, owning a home means everything to me. My goal is to do the same life-changing work for my business clients. If I cannot prequalify a client now, I take the time to build a plan to achieve a successful loan application, making their goals and dreams come true.
Q: Finally, what advice do you give a small business owner considering the loan process?
A: My advice to a new small business owner, or an existing business owner considering the loan process, is to be prepared and not be scared or intimidated to ask many questions. You can find a lot of loan tips on our site, too.
Be prepared by knowing your credit score, what you want to use the loan proceeds for, and how much money you need. Ask what the rate, terms, and costs are to you as a small business owner. Whether you want to invest more capital into your business or buy property, there are more options than people think, even if you don’t qualify for a loan right away.
Most importantly, connect to someone who cares, is knowledgeable, and doesn’t give up, “Si, se puede.” I am often thanked by my clients, mentioning that I am a part of making their dream a reality. Their gratitude brings me fulfillment and purpose, knowing I can use my twenty years of knowledge for good things!