ForwardLine Financial Appoints Experienced Financial Services Veteran, Steve Carlson, as CEO

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Innovative Small Business Lender Strengthens Management Team to Lead Accelerated Growth Plan

ForwardLine is unique in that it has been driving innovation – along with strong portfolio management – in the industry for over a decade.

ForwardLine Financial, a leading non-bank direct lender to small businesses throughout the United States, is pleased to announce the appointment of Steve Carlson as its new Chief Executive Officer, and the advancement of its co-founder Craig Coleman to Board Vice Chairman.

Bringing a wealth of experience in the financial services sector, with a strong track record of innovation and effective execution, Carlson joins ForwardLine to lead the next phase of its growth. Over the course of his career including leadership roles at HSBC and Intuit, and in his most recent role as CEO and Co-founder of Ascend, Carlson has consistently developed and executed growth plans, invested in people and utilized innovative technology to offer customers a differentiated solution to meet their needs.

For more than a decade, ForwardLine has helped America’s Main Street businesses obtain the right funding to drive growth - providing over $400 million in small business loans and $1 billion in credit card processing services. With the recent backing of The Vistria Group, the company has been investing in management and technology to build a ‘best of breed’ platform for continued growth. Leveraging its extensive direct marketing experience and data, the company has developed a sophisticated data warehouse and a predictive marketing engine to further drive the company’s direct mail and digital marketing efforts.

ForwardLine also recently launched a cutting-edge loan origination platform called MILO (short for Multiplex, Innovative Loan Origination platform). MILO’s modular underwriting system is designed to accommodate multiple credit products, data sources, and credit scorecards while delivering an enhanced customer experience. These initiatives have all been built to scale for meaningful future growth, balanced with a disciplined, prudent approach to credit risk that relies on ForwardLine’s proprietary Forsight™ credit algorithm.

“ForwardLine is unique in that it has been driving innovation – along with strong portfolio management – in the industry for over a decade,” Carlson said. ”The opportunity to apply my broad experience in financial service innovation to a nationwide, customer-centric non-bank lender makes this a perfect fit and an incredible opportunity. I look forward to building on its strong foundation, its cutting edge technology and its dedication to its customers.”

ForwardLine, the pioneer in alternative small business lending, takes a customer-centric approach to lending by understanding the specific needs of small business owners and then providing a compelling loan product. This approach and commitment to customer service is a key contributor to ForwardLine’s success and is reflected in the company’s A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

“We are thrilled to have Steve join ForwardLine. He brings the right combination of large company experience and entrepreneurial passion, along with a genuine commitment to our employees and customers,” Craig Coleman said. “We look forward to his leadership and guidance of our team as we continue to build a differentiated, customer-centric, industry-leading financial services company.”

About ForwardLine Financial:

ForwardLine Financial, a nationwide non-bank lender, has been successfully providing small businesses with fast, convenient financing alternatives to traditional business loans since 2003. ForwardLine combines technology, non-traditional credit algorithms, and a direct sales model to address a market not captured by traditional banks.

For more information, please contact ForwardLine’s marketing department at 866.623.4900, email or visit the ForwardLine website at

About The Vistria Group:

The Vistria Group is a Chicago-based private investment firm focused on investing in middle-market companies in the healthcare, education and financial services sectors. Vistria’s team comprises highly experienced operating partners and private equity executives with proven track records of working with management teams to build innovative, market-leading companies.

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