A bank you\u2019ve probably never heard of is trying to unseat\u00a0Wells Fargo, the second-largest US bank by market capitalization, from its perch as the No. 1 lender of Small Business Administration loans. And that little bank expects to lend up to $125 million to wineries and craft spirit makers this year.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe are very unbank like. We have no branches. We have no tellers. We have no CSRs. (Customer Service Representatives.) We do not collect deposits in a traditional way, nor do we make traditional loans,\u201d said Chip Mahan, founder, chairman and CEO of\u00a0Live Oak Bank. But what they do is make\u00a0Small Business Administration\u00a0(SBA) loans.\r\n\r\nThey expect to make loans totaling $1.8 billion in 2017, including up to $125 million to family wineries, craft breweries and distilleries, he said.\r\n\r\nBy comparison, in federal fiscal year 2016, Wells Fargo approved SBA loans totaling $1.9 billion nationwide, a spokesman said. \r\n\r\nHe added that while the bank would \u201cnot speculate about forward-looking results, we can tell you that Wells Fargo continues to be the leading SBA 7(a) lender in the first four months of federal fiscal year 2017 (October 2016 \u2013 February 2017), approving 2,318 loans totaling more than $680 million.\u201d\r\n\r\nLive Oak\u2019s Mahan said, \u201cThe interesting thing about an SBA loan is that 75 percent of that loan is guaranteed by the United States government. So, we package that piece and sell it in a very active secondary market allowing us to make more loans\u2026\u201d\r\n\r\nListed on the Nasdaq, Live Oak has seen its shares nearly double in the past 52-weeks, analyzed some 1,100 industries that the SBA allows lenders to serve, and found \u201cthose folks that pay you back, because the SBA has a lot of data on default ratios,\u201d Mahan said.\r\n\r\nLive Oak\u2019s first sought veterinarians, then dentists. Wineries, breweries and distillers were added later around the time the bank lured Keith Merklin away from Wells Fargo to become the General Manager of the Wine and Craft Beverage section.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThey use software to streamline the process, \u201cbut there are always more documents\u201d in an SBA loan, Merklin said. \u201cIt\u2019s not that different from a normal bank as far as the information we collect. We still collect three years of business tax returns, three years of personal tax returns, personal financial statement and resume.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u201cThe fact that we look at wineries and breweries every day allows us to spot what we\u2019re looking for with a winery looking to grow,\u201d said Merklin. \u201cWe know what the financials should look like.\u201d\r\n\r\nThe only weapon Live Oaks has, Merklin said, is its ability to provide customers with quick answers. \u201cWe take the position that the customer is very busy. And all they really want to know is \u2018Am I approved and when are you going to give me the money, and can you help me in the future?\u2019\u201d\r\n\r\nLive Oak Bank shares closed Friday at $20.80, up 0.48 percent, while Wells Fargo shares on the NYSE ended the week at $55.83, up 1.05 percent.