Get to Know the SomerCor Board of Directors: Brian Burke

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your professional experience:

I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, near Midway Airport, in the Garfield Ridge neighborhood. I attended St Laurence High School and received a degree in finance at Eastern Illinois University. I currently reside in the south suburbs with my wife and three children.

After spending a few years in residential lending after college, I decided to get into commercial banking. I began my commercial banking career in 2003 as a management trainee at Standard Bank & Trust holding various leadership roles in the commercial banking vertical. Standard Bank was acquired by First Midwest Bank in 2017 and most recently merged with Old National Bank in 2022.  With a proven track record in commercial banking, I have built valuable relationships with clients and team members. I currently serve as a Senior Vice President Group Head at Old National Bank in Business Banking. Old National Bank is fully supportive of my role as a board member at SomerCor and is building out its Small Business Administration (SBA) team to increase awareness of SBA 504 loans to partner with trusted and respected Certified Development Companies (CDCs) like Somercor. 

Why were you interested in serving on the SomerCor Board:

As a seasoned commercial lender with over two decades of experience managing teams that service small and mid-sized businesses in the Chicagoland area, I have always had a passion to serve on a non-for-profit board to assist small business owners grow and create jobs in our local communities with a focus on Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and community development. 

Serving on a board of a CDC that facilitates SBA loans is important to me because it aligns with my personal and professional values. I have always believed in the power of entrepreneurship and small businesses to drive economic growth and create opportunities for individuals and communities. By serving on SomerCor’s Board I have a direct impact to provide my professional knowledge to help the organization facilitate not only SBA 504 loans but also help the organization continue its partnership with the City of Chicago overseeing grants administered for the City of Chicago’s Small Business Improvement Fund (SBIF) and Neighborhood Opportunity Fund (NOF) programs. 

It is rewarding to help support and empower small business owners who might not have access to traditional financing options. Additionally, I can use my skills and experience to contribute to the company’s mission and help it achieve its goals. Overall, serving on the SomerCor board is a fulfilling way to make a positive impact in the Chicagoland business marketplace while also pursuing my passions and interests.

What are your goals for SomerCor’s growth and our impact on small businesses:

As a SomerCor board member, my goals for SomerCor are to increase its loan portfolio and expand its lending footprint into new markets to provide more access to capital for small businesses. By expanding the loan portfolio and footprint, SomerCor will have additional resources to support more entrepreneurs in achieving their business goals, whether it be expanding their operations, purchasing commercial real estate, or investing in equipment. Achieving these goals will create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and promote community development. SomerCor’s commitment to SBA 504 loans is a testament to their dedication to small business success, and I look forward supporting the organization as it continues to make a positive impact in the communities it serves. 

About SomerCor

The SomerCor mission is to grow businesses, create jobs, and increase impactful investment in every community through the SBA 504 loan program and other financing and grant initiatives. SomerCor serves the entire state of Illinois and Kenosha and Rock counties in Wisconsin.