According to a press release issued by TD Banknorth, Anne Cerami, SBA program manager for TD Banknorth and Executive MBA student, has been named the 2007 National Financial Services Champion by the US Small Business Administration (SBA).

Cerami was honored, along with the SBA's other Champion and Lender Award winners, at a reception ceremony held in Washington, DC on April 23 during the SBA's National Small Business Week.

“The SBA is proud to honor people like Anne Cerami who are among the true champions of small business and whose tireless efforts have provided tangible and significant support to small businesses and their communities,” said SBA Administrator Steven C. Preston. “She provides the advice and support that small business owners need, and fosters an environment in which the spirit of entrepreneurship can flourish.”

Ms. Cerami was first named the 2007 Massachusetts Financial Services Champion. She went on to win the New England competition for this award as well, before being named the National Financial Services Champion.

The Financial Services Champion award is presented annually to an individual who assists small businesses in obtaining financing either directly or through advocacy efforts to increase the availability of financial services. Another reason for Ms. Cerami’s selection was because of her many volunteer efforts beyond her business and professional responsibilities to advance small business interests.

“I am honored to accept these Financial Services Champion awards, and proud to represent the small business communities of Massachusetts and New England,” said Ms. Cerami. “Entrepreneurs and small businesses are the economic engine of the Northeast, and during my career I have enjoyed the opportunity to act as a champion on their behalf.”

Ms. Cerami began her banking career in 1989 in the commercial lending field, working with a number of Massachusetts financial institutions and earning her Executive MBA at Suffolk University along the way.

She joined TD Banknorth in 2002, and within just a few months helped make TD Banknorth the SBA’s number-three lender in Massachusetts. Ms. Cerami has also negotiated Referral Agreements with technical service providers throughout the bank’s footprint as part of the launch of the SBA Community Express program. This program specifically targets a number of under-served areas and requires business owners to obtain technical assistance as a condition of the loan to help reduce the number of start-up businesses that fail. She is also a dedicated member of her community, having served on ACCION, USA’s Advisory Board for many years.

Ms. Cerami and her staff, located in three states, have the responsibility of insuring compliance with state and federal guaranty programs spanning the bank’s entire footprint in New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions.