After five years as a personal trainer, Nick Irons was ready in 2010 to open his own fitness studio in Bethesda. His search for financing took him from behemoth HSBC to community lender EagleBank. Problem was every bank he approached turned him down. ¶ Irons was bewildered. ¶ “My business was successful before I decided to open a studio, but most banks looked at it as if it were a brand new start-up, not an extension of an existing business,” he said. ¶ Financial institutions are often leery of lending to fitness companies because of the failure rate, but Irons figured his years of experience and lengthy client list would make him a viable candidate for a loan. ¶
Determined to expand his operations, he began asking friends and colleagues for recommendations of lenders and was directed to Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union in Germantown. As a resident of Montgomery County, he was eligible for membership in the financial cooperative, and joined. After a multilayered application and review process, Irons was approved for a loan of around $250,000.