Howard Bank's Scharf Wins SBA Financial Services Champion Award


Rosa Scharf, Senior Vice President, Relationship Manager, at Howard Bank was recently named the Small Business Administration’s Financial Services Champion of the Year.

To make the award even more of an honor, Scharf was notified by the SBA that she’d won before she even received a nomination and completed an application.

The SBA’s Financial Services Champion of the Year is honored for “significant contributions through the financial services industry to advance small business interests.”

Winners are chosen for their active support of legislative or regulatory action designed to help small firms, encouragement of the flow of investment capital to small ventures and advocacy of changes in the financial services industry to assist small companies.

Winners are also judged on the amount and quality of assistance they give small businesses in obtaining financing both as part of their jobs and through volunteerism.

Scharf serves on the board of the Jim Rouse Entrepreneurial Fund. She is also a member of the Howard County Chamber of Commerce board and chairs it Business Recognition Committee. She has chaired the Chamber’s Member Education Committee and Small Business Initiative.

She says her community and work activities are often intertwined.  As a member of the JREF board, she sometimes mentors small business owners. And her contacts in the local business community often benefit her bank customers as they learn the art of networking and finding the services they need.

Scharf began her banking career in 1984 as a Loyola Federal Savings Bank branch manager. She joined Howard Bank in 2004 when it first opened for business. She has been making SBA loans for more than 10 years.

She was one of the first lenders to use the SBA’s new Patriot Express program, which provides money for people starting businesses when they leave military service. Military families can also apply for the loans.

Scharf grew up in Howard County and is a graduate of the University of Baltimore. She currently lives in Catonsville with her husband, Jeff, and their two children, Becca, 16, and Joey, 13.

A “Boy Scout Mom,” she serves on the board of Boy Scouts of Central Maryland. 

Howard Bank, the county’s only locally-owned bank, has branches in Hickory Ridge, Ellicott City and Maple Lawn and will open fourth branch at the intersection of Route 40 and Centennial Lane in the Fall. Scharf says the bank has about 75 commercial lending customers, most of them startups.

Earlier this year, she was named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record.

“Awards are always nice,” Scharf says, “but they’re even better when you’re being recognized for something you love.”