Garry Barnes, a specialist in government guarantee loan programs, has joined Community First Bancshares of Fargo, N.D.

He will oversee loans made through Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture programs for the bank's Arizona subsidiary.

"Community First is a strong, growth-oriented bank," Mr. Barnes said.

Mr. Barnes previously worked in the Phoenix office of Los Angeles-based Imperial Bancorp and directed the bank's SBA lending. Imperial is one of a handful of community banks that make loans in areas where they have no deposits.

Community First has $4.5 billion of assets. The bank moved into Arizona last year through a community bank acquisition. It also bought 25 Arizona branches from Banc One Corp. this month.

$75M in SBA LoansWere Securitized in 4Q

Lenders securitized $75 million of the nonguaranteed portions of loans made through the Small Business Administration's 7(a) loan program in the fourth quarter of 1997, according to the SBA.

Business Loan Center in New York securitized a $19.9 million pool of the loans. Emergent Business Capital in Greenville, S.C., securitized $21.5 million and Independence Funding Corp. securitized $34.4 million.

Last April, the SBA granted banks the same ability as nonbanks to securitize nonguaranteed portions of SBA loans. So far only one bank, Sierra West Bancorp in Truckee, Calif., has done so.

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