2006-11-22 / Features

Citibank VP Calls For Small Business Resurgence

BY THOMAS COGAN

Lutricia "Pat" Edwards, vice president and director of community relations for Citibank North America in Long Island City, was the speaker at the November luncheon of the Sunnyside Chamber of Commerce, held at Dazies Restaurant on Queens Boulevard. She talked about both her community work, some of which was to go on the following weekend, and her history of being a loan officer to both for-profit and nonprofit businesses. In addition, several seasonal announcements were made.

Edwards, a Queens native, has been with Citibank for 10 years and had covered Queens on two occasions before being called to this third one. In addition to the decade at Citibank, Edwards spent several more years, her entire career, in fact, in banking. Right out of school, she said, she started at National Bank of North America. (In her pre-Citibank years, she dealt at one point with Donald Trump, at that time in financial trouble. She spoke well of Trump, saying that despite his financial-and personal-stress at the time, he was a person who could stay focused on succeeding.) Currently a resident of Central Islip in Suffolk County, she had lately been working near her Long Island home and liking it when Citibank suggested she come back to Queens to assume the office that had belonged to Eileen Auld before Auld was advanced to director of national initiatives and community programs. The commute, she told the luncheon audience, has turned out to be easy, and the new position allows her, a business loans specialist, to work not only on community relations but also on small business. She wants to invigorate small business at Citibank, believing the small business community has suffered a decline in attention there in recent years, despite its being, in her words, "the economic engine of our economy." She said she had hosted a small business luncheon the day before, at which the director of the Small Business Administration of the Department of Commerce, Steve Preston, appeared. (He had also been in Queens in early August, just after taking office, to meet some merchants victimized by the Con Edison power outage.) Not surprisingly, she is also greatly concerned with women in business. At the small business luncheon at which SBA Director Preston appeared, several awards were given to women in business, including one who is an electrician. But to both men and women, Edwards would advise that every business ought to have a good lawyer and a good accountant, and all should keep in mind the "five c's" necessary for success in a business venture: capital, conditions, collateral, coverage and character.

Though a Queens native used to working in the borough, Edwards could, she admitted, still get lost. Having driven from Suffolk County to Queens the day of the Sunnyside Chamber luncheon, she found herself at Queens Boulevard and 49th Street, asking a person on the street where "Daisy's Diner" was and being assured that Dazies Restaurant was about 10 blocks away, in the direction she was heading. Apart from work, Edwards is a member of St. John of God Church in Central Islip. On the weekend following the luncheon, she was working at the Hour Children project at St. Rita's Church on 11th Street in Long Island City.

At the luncheon, Captain Tom Cavanaugh the new commander of the 108th Police Precinct was introduced. He succeeds Deputy Inspector Matthew Whelan, now the commander of the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights/Corona. The new commander refrained from any remarks, saving them perhaps for the precinct's community council meeting on Tuesday, November 27. On the same date, at about 6 p.m., the Sunnyside Chamber will conduct the lighting of the Christmas tree at Sabba Park, on Queens Boulevard at 50th Street. There is no Sunnyside Chamber luncheon in December.

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