Obama picks California Hispanic banker to head SBA

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President Obama’s pick for the head of the Small Business Administration is a Hispanic banker from California who’s hailed as having a proper mix of corporate and government work experience – as well as an ethnic and gender tag that will realize the White House’s pledge for diversity.

Maria Contreras-Sweet, 58, will be formally introduced on Wednesday at a White House event, USA Today reported. If confirmed, she’ll replace Karen Mills as administrator of the federal SBA.

She served as secretary of the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency from 1999 to 2003 and then founded ProAmerica Bank in 2006, The Washington Post reported. The bank sought to provide services to smaller-sized businesses that didn’t have access to larger financial institutions’ capital, especially those in Latino communities.

As the Washington Post also reported: Her nomination will help “address diversity concerns raised by some Democratic supporters of the president.” If confirmed by the Senate, Ms. Contreras-Sweet will join eight other women – including two Latinos – who have been appointed to Cabinet-level positions this term.

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