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[July 25, 2014]
Mercantile Capital says co-founder steps down to pursue new business [Orlando Sentinel :: ]
(Orlando Sentinel (FL) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 26--High-profile small-business lending executive Christopher Hurn has stepped down as chief executive officer of Orlando-based Mercantile Capital Corp. -- the company he co-founded a dozen years ago, officials said Friday.
Hurn, 42, a veteran entrepreneur and frequent commentator on cable TV business news programs, was "released from employment at Mercantile Capital," said John Burden, chief executive of Orlando-based Old Florida Bank, Mercantile's parent company. Burden would not comment further on Hurn's exit.
In a prepared statement, Mercantile Capital chairman Geoffrey Longstaff said Hurn is pursuing unspecified entrepreneurial interests. Hurn co-founded the enterprise with Longstaff in 2002.
"We wish Chris well in his entrepreneurial adventures and expect nothing less than very big things from him in the future," Longstaff said. "As a cofounder and 'the face' of Mercantile since the very beginning, this is no small change." No further details were provided about Hurn's next move. State business records list him as an executive with several businesses, including ATCC Management Group LLC of Longwood; Kennedy's International Franchising LLC of Orlando; and SpreheFamily Investments LLC, based in Lake Mary.
Longstaff promised that Mercantile Capital would "continue providing commercial real estate financing for our small business clients in a way that befits our nationwide reputation. Our mission remains unchanged, to fulfill dreams with smarter financing." Mercantile Capital is regarded as one of the country's largest Small Business Administration lenders, focusing on the SBA 504 program, which provides loans to businesses that plan to acquire or expand the facilities where they are located.
Through the first six months of this year, the company closed 18 SBA loans worth a combined $80.1 million, Mercantile reported last week. The businesses that received the loans created more than 500 jobs in nine states, according to the report.
Mercantile was acquired by Old Florida Bank in 2010 and operates as a subsidiary of the region's largest Orlando-based community bank.
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