Caruso Joins WSFS to Lead SBA Efforts
Longtime franchise finance executive Candice Caruso recently joined WSFS Bank to head up its SBA lending to small businesses, including the franchise sector. WSFS Bank, headquartered in Delaware, recently announced its intention to acquire Philadelphia-based Beneficial Bank, which will make it a $13 billion entity with offices in Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Virginia.
While it is a regional bank, the franchise group will be funding franchisees on a national basis. “Our initial goal is to have 20 approved brands we can service throughout the country,” said Caruso.
Caruso’s experience within franchise financing includes launching Pango Financial years ago. At Pango, she matched franchise borrowers with the right funding solution, and it was there she honed her knowledge of financial technology.
“I am always one who focuses on staying ahead of the curve,” Caruso said. “And that’s what made me so excited about coming to WSFS. They are looking for ways to innovate and to serve a larger audience.”
It’s her goal at WSFS to fine tune the process “to be the most efficient and quickest. I will spend a lot of time on how to make this process better.” The client experience will differentiate WSFS from other SBA lenders, she added.
And while Caruso is heading up SBA lending for the bank, which includes all types of small business borrowers, her franchise lending experience is an indication where the bank would like to go with its franchise portfolio.
“We are making an investment in the franchise sector, and we understand the needs of the franchisor and franchisee,” she said. “For the franchisor, it is getting those units open. We feel confident the timelines will be met on our end. Efficiency and speed is so critical for franchisees, too. A lot of people have apprehension when they hear ‘SBA.’ We want to make it something that they don’t have a concern about, and make the experience positive for them.”