Once told ‘girls don’t have business cards’, Barbara Morrison turns TMC into a major Bay Area small business lender

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When innovators and entrepreneurs approach TMC Financing Founder and President Barbara Morrison of Sonoma in hopes of securing the financing that will help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams, she can tap into her own experiences.

Long before starting an East Bay-based finance company that secured more than $10 billion in Small Business Administration 504 loans for real estate projects throughout California, Nevada and Arizona, she worked at the San Francisco City Hall, including the day Mayor George Moscone and gay activist, Supervisor Harvey Milk were shot and killed by disgruntled Supervisor Dan White.

She was calling the mayor’s office in the Economic Development Department that day – November 27, 1978 – and remembers being stunned to hear the news from someone right after it happened.

“‘The mayor was shot,’ someone came to tell me,” she told the Business Journal soberly.

This caused her to stop and think how precious life is and how suddenly everything can be taken away.

“I always knew that I was going to do something that, as a career, was going to have a positive impact on people and that my career would always be important,” she said.

Describing herself as “a child of the 60s”, Morrison, 70, wanted to save the world.

And if the government couldn’t do it or was part of the problem, the future University of Vermont graduate financier was confident she could rely on her own common sense to get through tough times and horrible odds.

Early on, the world of finance intrigued her, despite her liberal arts major. She graduated and went to work in administration at the San Francisco office of Paine Webber, where she developed an interest in becoming a trader.

But she soon received an education in Sexism 101.

Of the company’s 40 stockbrokers, none were women. Yet she took and passed the required exam.

“Somehow I managed to get the job, but for incredibly low wages,” she said of her new job as a stockbroker.

However, she needed to do business and encountered some obstacles. Obviously, business cards had to be ordered.

“I was told ‘girls don’t have business cards,'” she said with a chuckle.

Then she wanted her name in the phone book.

“I was told that the girls don’t have their names in the yearbook,” she said.

She even discovered that as a woman, she enjoyed a “different” set of benefits than men. His came with lesser benefits.

Despite the obstacles, Morrison enjoyed a successful run in a male-dominated field before forming TMC with six staff members in 1988.

“The only guy was a receptionist,” she joked.

Now with 74 employees, the company was instrumental in securing 1,100 Paycheck Protection Program loans totaling $105 million in the first round of funding during the pandemic.

“We all felt like we were,” she said of the scale of the work her company was facing. “There was so much going on. We have really seen the small business spectrum. And the need for them was so great.

Having endured a rocky road to get to where she is today, Morrison sympathized with those struggling.

“All the issues we had before – childcare for one – came to light. Many more women have lost their jobs,” she said. “But there is a catalyst.”

This catalyst is the one she can recognize. Morrison predicts that many women, forced to stay home to care for their children, will start their own businesses instead of working for “the man”.

Morrison, who at one point was mayor of the Marin County community in Belvedere, is not done.

A subsidiary, TMC Community Capital, provided grants of $750,000 for philanthropic projects under a collaborative agreement with Signature Bank.

Striving to find work-life balance while encouraging others around her to do the same, Morrison travels, hikes and renovates her home when she’s not at work.

But her work represents her real passion in life, because as a people person, it is the part that matters most to her. Everything else falls into place behind his quest to help others achieve their dreams.

Chris Glab, owner of Wildbrine in Santa Rosa, declined to say how much funding TMC had loaned his plant-based food business, but said the investment capital was enough to help bring the business into the county. of Sonoma in the next realm of rising food. trends involving fermentation.

Glab said he was impressed with the account manager TMC Finance who helped him with his project.

“She knew the ins and outs of the rules – and was so responsive, and that’s rare these days,” he said.

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