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Small business loans hit record in state

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POSTED: November 24, 2007 5:01 a.m.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Small Business Administration posted higher numbers and dollars for its loan programs in Georgia during FY 2007 as the agency expanded access to capital to more than 3,000 small business startups and existing companies throughout the state.
Nationally, the SBA set records for both the combined number and dollar volume of its guaranteed loans, and increased lending to small businesses in underserved areas by more than 5.5 percent.
The SBA guaranteed 2,747 loans in Georgia under its 7(a) program for a total of $577.8 million during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2007, according to preliminary results. This is a 3 percent increase in numbers of loans and a 4.7 percent increase in dollars compared to a year ago.
In the Certified Development Company loan program, also known as the 504 program, 364 loans were made in Georgia for $211 million. The number of 504 loans is up 11 percent and 3 percent in dollars compared to FY 2006. These loans are used to buy or rehabilitate fixed assets such as land, buildings, machinery and equipment.
“Even with concerns about a slowing economy beginning to surface, these figures show that Georgians remain confident about starting and expanding their businesses,” SBA Georgia District Director Terri Denison said.  
The 49 SBA guaranteed loans made in the Macon area cover Bibb, Houston, Monroe and Jones counties. Twenty three of the loans were made in Bibb for $4.4 million; 21 were made in Houston for $10.3 million while five were made in Monroe and Jones counties for about $2 million.
The SBA made strong gains in several of the traditionally underserved markets in Georgia. SBA backed loans to African Americans were up 24.7 percent from 692 last year to 863 in FY 2007. Loan dollars were also about 70 percent from $70.8 million to $120 million in FY 2007. The number of 504 loans to this segment of the market, at 52, jumped by 147 percent.  
The number of 504 loans to Hispanics increased by 54 percent in Georgia, with the dollar total reaching $7 million. SBA loans to women-owned businesses also increased by nine percent in numbers and were up slightly in dollars from a year ago.   
Nationwide, the SBA approved 110,275 loans totaling more than $20.6 billion under its 7(a) and 504 loan programs during the 12 months ending last September 30. This compares with 107,233 loans worth $20.25 billion in FY 2006.  With the results for 2007, the combined outstanding loan balances in the 7(a) and 504 loan programs increased 6.5 percent to $66.7 billion.  
The national total does not include an additional $2.65 billion in venture capital funding provided by SBA-licensed Small Business Investment Companies to more than 2,000 small businesses.
Both primary loan programs combined set national records this year. The 7(a) loan guaranty program — most often used for working capital — increased the number of loans from 97,290 in FY 2006 to 99,607 loans in FY 2007, although the dollar volume declined slightly from $14.52 billion to $14.29 billion. The Certified Development Company, or 504 program, provided 10,668 loans worth $6.31 billion, up from the 9,943 loans worth $5.73 billion in FY 2006.
Nearly a third of all loans went to start-ups, and a third went to minority borrowers.  In fact, loans to minority groups increased by 7 percent, with the largest increase coming in loans to African Americans, which increased by 23 percent, from 7,238 to 8,903. Smaller volume increases were recorded to business owned by Asian Americans, Native Americans and women, while loans to Hispanics declined slightly.  Overall, loans to businesses in underserved areas amounted to more than 36 percent of total loan approvals.
“The SBA’s loan programs have been setting records for six consecutive years. During this period, the agency has approved more than 555,000 loans worth more than $107 billion to American small businesses, more than in the previous 10 years combined.  
For more information on how to get an SBA loan, visit www.sba.gov
 

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